Next fall, varsity football is moving up to the 4A division of the Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) after playing in the 3A division for the past two seasons.
Every two years, the SPC evaluates the 3A and 4A split and is permitted to make changes. According to Head of Athletics and Physical Education Chad Wabrek, the SPC decided to realign football assignments based on school size. Greenhill is one of the largest schools in terms of size in the SPC, so they were bumped up to 4A.
Head coach Casey Selfridge said that the team doesn’t have many differences compared to current 4A teams. He said that Greenhill will be competitive in the 4A division.
Greenhill finished second in SPC 3A this year, falling to the Trinity Valley School 24-14 in the 3A title game. Trinity Valley will remain in the 3A division next season.
In the fall, the Hornets suffered a one-point overtime loss to the St. Marks Lions, the only 4A team Greenhill played last year. The two teams used to play each other in a division rivalry game every season, but the SPC split caused Greenhill and St. Marks to be in different divisions for past years.
St. Marks is not the only school that the Hornets are going to be meeting up again in 4A next year; the switch to 4A means Greenhill will also be playing Midway-foe Episcopal School of Dallas yearly again. The last time Greenhill played the Eagles was during the 2014 season.
The Kinkaid School and Episcopal High School in Houston, the teams with the two best records in 4A last year, will also be on Greenhill’s schedule in the 2018 season. Both of those teams defeated St. Marks by at least 30 points last year.
“The effort from last year is not going to be enough,” said sophomore Max LaMendola. “We need to really acquire a level of discipline that I haven’t yet seen from Greenhill football.”
According to Coach Selfridge, the underclassmen who played a lot this year are going to need to step into the important roles next season. He said he is confident that they are capable of doing so.
Even with improved effort, the team will still be relatively young and inexperienced compared to teams from past years.
The team is graduating six seniors this spring, including starting quarterback Jake Webster and wide receivers Xavier Bryant, Kassidy Woods and Curtis Dorsey.
“I think our young guys are going to really need to step up,” Max said. “There needs to be a certain level of focus and willingness to do good, hard work during practice to make up for the seniors leaving.”
As the football team moves to a more competitive division, Coach Selfridge believes in the approach and philosophy he implemented this past season.
“Year two of a system and a program will yield a different set of results,” he said. “There should be an exponential jump just from an execution standpoint.”
Junior lineman Kevin Hoare expressed support for his coach going into his second year.
“I think he has done a good job; taking us to the first championship for the first time in 17 years is a pretty big accomplishment,” Kevin said. “One thing he does a very good job of is adapting the game plan and playing style to the athletes that we have.”
While coaching will be crucial to the team’s success next year, Max knows that the athletes will also need to rise to the occasion.
“It will add a challenge, mentally and physically,” he said.
Originally published in the December 2017 print issue