“I’m State, you’re champs. State. CHAMPS!”
That’s the way Greenwood has broke out since falling short in the third round of last year’s postseason.
Greenwood alum Rusty Purser took over as the Rangers head coach in March after Jared Sanderson left to work in the private sector.
When he heard the chant, he didn’t tell his players to shy away from it. Instead, he told them to own it – mean it.
“I like to see how hard we’re working. We’ve been working hard,” said senior wide receiver/linebacker Abidel Albarado. “Out of all my years of being here at Greenwood, I’ve never seen us work this hard as a group.”
One of the key departures for the Rangers is quarterback Jake Somers. Weston Wilber will be taking over under center. He started several games for Greenwood early last season while Somers was injured.
“This year, he’s never missed a beat,” said Purser. “Since the day I got here in April, putting in the work, going through summer with 7-on-7 and then into fall camp, he’s been great.”
Wilber will have about as much help to ease that transition as he could ask for.
Eight total starters return on offense for the Rangers, including wide receiver Brody Ray. During his junior year, Ray hauled in 20 receiving touchdowns.
Running backs Trey Cross and Ryan Snodgrass form one of the strongest tandems in the district – and possibly in all of the Permian Basin.
“We have a bunch of stuff we worked on,” said senior running back/defensive end Aliber Garza. “Bunch of tools, bunch of weapons. We’re just really excited with what we can use.”
“Those guys need to be the leaders,” said Purser. “They’re the ones that need to be able to set up an expectation.”
“It’s not only those skill guys – those offensive linemen have been through it before,” he continued. “They understand what’s expected of them and what it’s going to take to win another district championship.”