Greenbrier High School's football team already has had its breakthrough this season. Now the Wolfpack are trying to build on it.
After a tough welcome to Region 2-AAAAA in 2008, the Wolfpack won their region opener this season and have some positives to work from.
Coach Brian Smith's team suffered a setback last week with a 43-7 loss to Union Grove during homecoming.
But Smith is hoping the margin was partly a product of several injuries and that his Wolfpack team will be better equipped Friday at Luella, which has dropped its first two region games.
"What we want to do is regroup, hopefully get healthy and come back out next week," Smith said.
Greenbrier opened its Region 2-AAAAA schedule Sept. 25 with a home win over Douglass, a team that beat the Wolfpack soundly a season ago. A year ago, the Greenbrier's first region victory didn't come until the final game of the season.
"It gives more confidence, getting that early win," receiver Ricky Wiebe said. "We can do it. We did it (against Douglass)."
On Friday, Greenbrier (2-3, 1-1) was without several key players sidelined because of injuries. Among them were running back DJ Tyson, who suffered a concussion Sept. 11, starting nose guard Matt Padgett and starting linebacker Julian Clark.
Union Grove's multidimensional offense wore down Greenbrier's defense. Union Grove coach Steve Collins uses every playmaker at his disposal, including Jordan Akins, who lined up all over the field.
"We got a lot of different guys we like to get the ball to," Collins said.
The Wolverines (5-0, 2-0) benefited from a short field early. An interception set up Union Grove at Greenbrier's 14 yard line on its second possession. Jordan Moore scored on an option pitch the first play from scrimmage.
Greenbrier's defense forced three turnovers on Union Grove's first five possessions. After forcing a fumble late in the first quarter, the Wolfpack scored on quarterback Scott Reeder's sneak to pull to 15-6.
The Wolverines' next possession ended when Wolfpack defensive back Thomas Brown picked off a third-down pass.
But Greenbrier fumbled the ball right back. The Wolverines added two more scores before the half.
"I think, realistically, we probably should have ended the half at 15-6 and go in and regroup," Smith said. "Instead, it was 27-6. That makes a difference coming back out, in terms of strategy."
Greenbrier held a moment of silence Friday before the game to remember Scott Gillen, the 17-year-old student who died Sept. 28 while running on the school's track.
Wolfpack coach and public address announcer Chip Warren read a Bible verse that was printed on the back of the bulletin from Gillen's funeral service.
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