EASLEY—The Easley High football team is using the summer to build off its 11-2 season, and maybe go a little further this coming year.
Head Coach Chad Smith says the Green Wave will be ready with a veteran roster when his team kicks the season off against Pickens on August, 17.
“Our kids are working extremely hard,” said Smith. “We’ve got a very large senior class coming back. We’re returning about seven starters on defense and a lot of starters on offense. We are going to miss kids like Brandaun Addison or Zach Lappin, but at the same time, our kids are working so hard and those holes will be filled.”
While Addison, who will play with Gardner Webb this year, and Lappin, who will suit up for Mars Hill, will be difficult to replace, Smith does not expect any shortcomings as a result.
“Zach (Lappin) was actually hurt for a game and a half last year, but we really didn’t miss a beat. We beat T.L. Hanna and put 42 points on the board against Hillcrest, and Zach wasn’t even in there,” said Smith. “Our program builds on more than just one kid at one position.”
Smith says Kevin Bryant is currently taking the most quarterback repetitions this offseason, and should be ready for a new year.
“He’s doing a phenomenal job,” said Smith.
A problem area for the Green Wave, however, could be depth.
“We’ve got a really good core group of kids that can play, but we need to get deeper,” said Smith. “Injuries could hurt us. If we stay healthy, we could be really good, or if we get deeper, we could be really good.”
Smith says he believes in the guys that he will be putting on the field this season, and believes his team will stick to a solid running game and balanced approach.
“We’ve actually got a legitimate program now,” said Smith. “We don’t try to trick anybody. Teams know what we do going into it, and if they can stop us, they’ve got a pretty good chance of winning, but if they can’t they’re probably not going to beat us. I think our overall program is a strength.”
As Easley gets set to say its final goodbyes to Brice Field, Smith says he feels confident that the old traditions of Green Wave football will follow his team to the new territory.
“We’re moving into a gorgeous facility,” said Smith. “I say all the time that Easley is not about brick and mortar, it’s about flesh and blood. I firmly believe that, and I’m excited about moving to the new facility. We’re leaving, but the important thing to understand is that history is not lost. The Green Wave program is always going to bring back a lot of good memories, it doesn’t really matter what venue you are at.”
Smith’s team fell just short of its goal to win a state title last season, but he hopes they will be in the hunt again this time around.
“We have a ton of knowledge on staff,” said Smith. “I lean on those guys a lot. We don’t ever go into a season planning for a state championship, but we just try to prepare for each game and take it one game at a time.”