High School Football Preview: Leeds Green Wave

College Sports

LEEDS, Ala. (WIAT) — My how the waves have turned in Leeds. In 2008 when Keith Etheredge took over a Green Wave program that had won just 23 games since 2000; since then, they have averaged 11.4 wins per season, including three state championships. The most recent of those titles came last year, which sets up Etheredge’s program to attempt the hardest feat in sports: the repeat. “As everyone knows, it’s hard [repeating] but I don’t think we really let that affect us,” said senior running back Tre Nation. “We went to the finals and lost [in 2013], then came back, worked hard and won the next year. I think this year, even though we didn’t lose last year, we have to come back with the same mentality.”

Usually you talk about focus when football is the subject. All business, all the time. You haven’t been to Leeds. During the teams media days interview, players were bum rushing each other and photobombing. “See, team chemistry,” Nation said with a laugh as his teammates made an impromptu appearance in his interview. “This is the stuff I go through. We love each other, we’re around each other all the time. It’s just a bond we have.” There’s a time for work and a time for play, however. “It’s crazy, everybody’s trying to have fun and everybody’s working,” said quarterback Tadarryl Marshall, a Tennessee commit. “We’re going to try and have fun, as long as we get the ‘W’ at the end of the week.”

OFFENSE: It’s an embarrassment of riches on the offensive side of the ball, simply put. The Green Wave returns two of the state’s most prolific athletes in Marshall and Nation. “It’s pretty nice,” said Etheredge with a grin and laugh. “You’ve got Tre Nation who’s rushed for over 5,500 yards and 75 touchdowns, you have Tadarryl Marshall, who’s the MVP of the state championship game and had over 300 yards as a sophomore in the state championship game the year before. So, it’s pretty nice but we have a lot of people to replace. We lost four all-state kids, and that’s not easy to replace.” No, but they also have six returning, including all-state offensive lineman Mike Rankins. Marshall said he will be joined by Wesley Alexander, Josephus Smith, Clark Smith, and Gage Towery. At wide receiver, Leeds returns the experience of Koi Freeman and the potential of Miles Evans. “Nobody has a really good game plan because we have so many weapons,” said Marshall.

DEFENSE: The Green Wave returns three all-state players on defense. The defensive line should be borderline impenetrable with all-staters Christian Smith, Josephus Smith, and Isaiah Sharp-Perry. There does seem to be a lack (a relative term) of experience in the secondary and on the linebacker level from a team that shut-out four of its five playoff opponents.

All the pieces are there for another state title run for the Green Wave. Opponents will also love to hear that the players are relaxed and ready for the season. “There’s a time to be serious and there’s a time to have fun,” said Etheredge. “When we’re at these things [media days] I want them to have fun.”

“When we’re in the weight room or on the field they understand it’s focus time.” Good luck, 4A.Leeds Green Wave 2015 Football Schedule:

8/21 – Madison Academy

8/28 – Trinity Presbyterian

9/4 – @ Munford

9/11 – @ Central of Clay County

9/18 – Elmore County

9/25 – Piedmont

10/2 – @ Handley

10/9 – Dadeville

10/16 – @ Childersburg

10/23 – Holtville

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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