SMITHS STATION, Ala. (WTVM) - Glenwood earned a trip to the AISA Class AAA state title game last year, but it didn’t go as planned.
“We made it,” said head coach Jason Gibson. “We made it to Troy and forgot that we should have showed up and played the game.”
The sting of a 49-22 loss to Bessemer Academy has the Gators working to get back.
“The expectation is to win a state championship,” said Gibson. “Just getting to the game this year is not really the goal and these guys will tell you.”
Gibson and his crew immediately got back to work after last season’s disappointment. Senior quarterback and linebacker Jackson Griner doesn’t want to suffer through that same feeling from last year.
"We had the opportunity, but let it slip through our fingers," Griner said. Senior defensive lineman Trent Edwards agrees.
“We got there and tasted it, but we couldn’t get it,” said Edwards. “Being here since 8th grade I’ve seen good teams not win it and I don’t want to be another one of those teams.”
“The mentality this year is different,” said senior running back Kye Robichaux.”Everybody else is a little bit more motivated even with the people that just came to the team. We’re all on the same page and we all have ultimately one goal.”
The Gators return eight starters total from last year, and it falls on guys like Griner and Edwards to help lead the defense.
“We all work together,” said Griner. “We all practice together. We have a lot of talent on the defensive side. We just have to find that one guy on the team and I believe I can be that guy once we get back to practice just step up and show everybody how it’s done and tell them how it’s done.”)
With two defending state champs and two other tough teams on just the non-conference schedule, it’ll be tough to get back to the title game, but Gibson said he’s ready for the challenge.
"To be the best you've got to beat the best."
They’ll get a chance for payback in the opener when they host Bessemer Academy on August 21.