High School Football Preview: Homewood Patriots

College Sports

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — Three Dog Night laid out a lot for us back in 1969 when it comes to numbers.“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do…”“…Two can be just as bad as one…”

What about nine? For the Homewood Patriots, nine has become the standard over the last three seasons, each producing nine wins and a region title. Now, nine is old news. “We want to take it a step further no doubt,” said head coach Ben Berguson. “All summer we’ve talked about state championship, region championship, ten win seasons; now it’s time to take it a step further.”

OFFENSE: Homewood returns five starters from last year’s team. “The ones we have coming back are in key spots,” said Berguson. “We’ll have a three year starter at quarterback,” he added, referring to Carson Griffis. Griffis can sling it through the air, or he can tuck it and run it, like he did in week 3 last year verse Pelham when he rushed for 281 yards. The leading Patriot for the offense is Derrick Underwood, who rushed for more than a thousand yards last year. The Pats will also be big on the outside. “We feel really good about our receiver corps this year,” said Berguson. “At any time we could have three receivers out there over six foot two.” Actually, they could go seven-wide if it was legal with Tyshawn Buckner (6’2), Ronald Claiborne (6’2), Andrew Cleveland (6’2), John Andrew Dill (6’3), Trey Jacka (6’3), Alec Marsch (6’2), and Kevin Patterson (6’3), although not all will play on the varsity squad. Those tall targets are a sense of relief for their QB. “It definitely makes me more comfortable,” said Carson Griffis. “I feel like I can throw it around a little more.” The offensive line is the only position group with question marks at this time, but Berguson isn’t worried; that’s his group. “I’ll make it happen,” he said matter-of-factly.

DEFENSE: The Pats will be anchored on the defensive line by the monstrous 6’3, 265lb defensive end, Griffin Gentry. “He’s unblockable,” said Berguson. “I know that first-hand because I coach the o-line every day. Violent hands, great ball get off, he’ll give offensive coordinators a lot of problems this fall.” Berguson is counting on his big guy to help some of the new faces. “One of the things my coaches stressed to me is it wasn’t about me playing, it was about me being a leader,” said Gentry. “Helping the younger guys out there that aren’t used to the system like I am.” Griffin Rivers will lead the backend of the defense that returns four starters from a unit that only let up 14.8 points per game.

Most teams in Alabama would be thrilled for a nine win season, as the Patriots have produced three years in a row. Winning a region title is always a priority, because that’s the first attainable goal. These seniors have three of those, as well, so they’re focus is higher. “I think we want to match what we did last year,” said Griffis. “And we want to just improve each day we step out there.” If they keep improving, the Patriots might just have a new favorite Three Dog Night song: “Joy to the World.”Homewood Patriots 2015 Football Schedule:

8/21 – Decatur

8/28 – Vestavia Hills

9/4 – Pelham

9/11 – @ Briarwood Christian

9/18 – John Carroll Catholic

9/25 – OPEN

10/2 – @ Minor

10/9 – @ Walker

10/16 – Hueytown

10/22 – @ Jackson-Olin

10/30 – @ Tuscaloosa County

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