by: Adam Withrow
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” The Gallatin Green Wave came to understand this wisdom all too well in 2015. After beginning last season red hot at 4-1, the team dropped five straight games ending the regular season with a disappointing 4-6 record. Five of the Green Wave’s six losses in 2015 came against playoff competition. Head Coach Mark Williams will look to lead the Green Wave over the hump in 2016 and into the 5A state playoffs.
The Green Wave return six starters on offense including standout running back Jordan Mason (6’1, 205, Sr.) who rushed for 1642 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2015 while battling through injury. Mason carried the Green Wave in many games last year and is sure to be the primary offensive weapon again in 2016. Under center will be senior quarterback Wyatt Hayes (6’1, 165, Sr.) who led the Green Wave offense as a junior. Coach Williams says he expects Hayes to use his experience to manage the game and lead the offense. Hayes’ main targets will be receivers Marcus DeVault (5’10, 165, Sr.) and Dezmond Chambers (5’7, 165, Sr.). DeVault started his high school career with the Green Wave freshman team and then moved to Station Camp for a two year stint before transferring back to Gallatin for his senior year. When asked about the move back to Gallatin, DeVault stated he was happy to finish his high school football career with the guys he started with as a freshman. Coach Williams commented, “He brings a great set of skills at WR and DB. He will definitely be a big part of our offense and defense.” DeVault who had three touchdowns against Gallatin in a 27-19 win by Station Camp last year will now look to find the end zone for the Gallatin green and gold in 2016. Up front, the Green Wave offensive line will be expected to open holes for their dangerous running attack and are led by their most explosive lineman Archellous Turner (5’10, 255, Jr.) alongside a big bodied offensive tackle in Wyatt Tabor (6’3, 305, Sr.)
Defensively Gallatin returns only three starters. Two of the three returning starters are defensive linemen LaMarious Majors (6’2, 288, Sr.) and CJ Mullins (6’0, 275, Sr.) who will anchor the defensive front. Majors and Mullins are both expected to lead the defense and make plays at the line of scrimmage. The defensive secondary will feature DeVault, Chambers, and Mason whose stamina is sure to be tested this season while starting on both sides of the ball. Chambers is a playmaker and a dynamic athlete with a 4.46 second 40 yard dash. Another solid addition to the secondary will be senior Keshawn High who is a returning starter at corner. John Austin Birdwell (5’10, 215, Jr.) will call the plays for defense at middle linebacker. Big things are expected of Birdwell as he emerges into a leadership role.
The 2016 Gallatin squad has many questions leading into the season. The key offensive players will also have major roles on defense leaving depth and durability as a main concern. It is also imperative for Gallatin to win more big games against quality opponents in order to be a playoff contender. Amidst the questions, Green Wave fans can count on Jordan Mason to be a shining star. Mason is set to have a big time year in 5A and is alone worth the price of admission.