Greenwood puts 5-0 record on the line against visiting Glasgow

Greenwood head coach William Howard addresses his team after Thursday’s practice. The Gators (5-0) play host to the Glasgow Scotties (4-1) on Friday night.

Jalen Brock is Greenwood High School’s animated, fast-talking fullback. His teammates say that’s his style, that he’s the guy who keeps the Gators loose in the locker room, before he makes a difference on the field.

Brock said he knows a few Glasgow High School football players, that he’s ready to mix it up with the Scotties, that the Greenwood players understand what’s at stake.

Allow fifth-year Greenwood head coach William Howard to intervene.

“A 6-0 start? I don’t think it’s ever happened here,” Howard said.

Senior quarterback James Salchli has been an effective passer for the unbeaten Gators. Greenwood (5-0) plays host to the Glasgow Scotties (4-1) on Friday night.

That’s where Brock steps in. The Gators (5-0) play host to Glasgow (4-1) on Friday night at 7 p.m., the first of three games Greenwood will play at home. Next week, Greenwood will begin KHSAA 1st Region, District 2-5A play against Christian County.

“This Glasgow game is gonna be a dogfight,” Brock said. “It’s kind of personal for me, playing this team. I don’t like ’em very much.”

That brought some laughter from his Greenwood teammates also participating in the interview, and sophomore running back Tel Tel Young tried to put Brock’s thoughts into perspective.

“Our goal is to be undefeated, going into district,” Young said. “Our goal is to be 1-0 every week … (Brock), he brings some fire to practice. Gets guys goin’ …”

Greenwood hasn’t really been challenged this season, its 22-7 victory over Logan County last week the closest of its five non-district games to date. The Gators have used senior quarterback James Salchli to move the offense down the field before turning to versatile junior Lofton Howard, who is effective as a short-yardage and goal-line quarterback when he isn’t disrupting things as an outside linebacker on defense.

“Yeah, we’ve mixed it up a little on offense,” William Howard said. “We talk to the kids a lot about being prepared. We’ve had kids out, with injuries, the COVID-19 protocol, that kind of thing. I try to spin that as a positive, that some other guys are getting to play, and we’re building some depth.”

Howard’s team faces a Glasgow squad that’s won four straight games, all of them by lopsided margins, after opening the season with a disastrous 56-0 loss to Woodford County. Glasgow has been known as a wide-open offensive squad, but that’s changed a bit over the last few years, at least in Howard’s estimation.

“Back when we played them four or five years ago, (Glasgow) was a spread team and they threw it all over the place,” Howard said. “They’ve switched their offensive identity a little bit. They’ve been pretty effective running the football out of the wing-T (offense).

“Defensively, they’re a very athletic team and they do a good job of getting to the football.”

Glasgow quarterback John Myers has split time at the position with teammate Easton Jessie, and they’ve combined for 556 yards passing with seven touchdowns and just one interception. The Scotties rely on a pair of running backs, Hunter Scott (348 yards rushing, five touchdowns) and Keiran Stockton (308 yards, five TDs). Scott also has four touchdown receptions, giving Glasgow coach Jeff Garmon some versatility in the passing game.

Greenwood senior James Croslin, a mountain of a young man at offensive tackle, believes the Gators need to focus on the task at hand instead of looking at the big picture, which down the road includes district games against crosstown rivals Bowling Green High School and South Warren. Greenwood has never beaten BGHS in football, something the Purples’ fans like to drive home in the buildup for the game.

“I feel like if we beat Glasgow, we’ll get over the hump,” Croslin said. “If we lose this game, we’ve really lost our edge, going into district (play). It’s homecoming, too. We’ve gotta be focused and ready to play.”

Young is the Gators’ rushing leader, with 443 yards on the ground and five touchdowns, while Brock, the fullback in Howard’s wing-T offense, has added 301 rushing yards with four scores.