This is the 17th in a series of stories on high school football teams in the Bi-City. Coming Tuesday: Kendrick.
By David Mitchell
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2013 record: 4-7
Key players: Lawson Humphries, Anthony Davis, Mikey Starke, Noah Kirkland,
Key game: at Lee-Scott, Sept. 26
Outlook: Glenwood's first season under coach Tripp Henderson didn't go exactly as scripted. Despite some talent on the team, it struggled to make the needed adjustments and slid to a 4-7 overall record.
The 2013 version of the Gators struggled particularly on defense, allowing more than 40 points seven times, more than 50 six times and more than 60 twice.
All told, the Gators allowed 476 points during the season, the most allowed in program history. You can't expect to have much success in the win column giving points in bulk like that. Not coincidentally, all seven of those 40-plus point games resulted in losses for the Gators.
But 2014 is a new season and a new approach, and the hope is that the team experiences some new re
Like the offense, the defense returns eight starters to the unit.
There is some size up front, like junior defensive tackle Noah Kirkland, who is 6-foot-1 and 320 pounds.
The linebacker corps features Jackson Oates, a senior who is 6-foot, 255 pounds.
Overall, eight juniors and seniors are projected to start on defense, while freshman defensive tackle Chad Dykes, sophomore defensive end Bryce Wade and sophomore Brandon Mosely will round out the unit.
Offensively, the Gators lost perhaps their strongest weapon, Dylan Denny, who helped lead a unit that did outplay the team's overall 4-7 record.
Last season, the Gators scored more than 40 points on six occasions, but lost two of those games.
This year, senior quarterback Lawson Humphries returns, and he will be the impetus for the unit's success.
He is a dual-threat passer, notching 865 yards passing and 735 yards rushing a year ago.
Those numbers are both likely to go up this season.
Senior running back Anthony Davis rushed for 785 yards last year and will likely see his production increase in Denny's absence, as well.
With the exception of the junior Kirkland on the offensive line, the rest of the group are all seniors.
The offense is likely to be a successful unit again this season in Henderson's single wing scheme.
It will be the improvement of the defense, though, that determines how far this team can go.
Even minor improvement can make the Gators a playoff team, which Henderson said he expects of his group.
To become a contender well into November, though, it's going to take more than that.
Glenwood plays Lee-Scott on Sept. 26 this season.
Last year, the latter advanced to the playoffs as the No. 4 seed out of AISA Class 3A, Region 1 with a 3-3 region record.
It defeated the Gators 70-42, which proved to be the difference for Glenwood.
That will once again be a key game for Glenwood in 2014, though it should have its sights aimed for more than just a postseason berth.