Momentum is in the Falcons' corner this season.
GIBSON CITY — Rather than forget last year’s 4-5 season, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley football coach Mike Allen wants his players to remember.
He wants them to remember the 3-1 edge his Falcons had in shutouts. To remember how close the team was to ending the regular season with a five-game winning streak.
“Last year, if we’d had 10 more points, we’d have had two more wins, and that would have been the difference of being in the playoffs,” Allen said.
Instead, in that last five-game sequence was a one-point loss and a seven-point setback.
Fifteen seniors are on this year’s roster. Fifteen football players on a mission.
“They were disappointed not to make the playoffs and have pushed each other and held each other accountable,” Allen said. “They’ve taken the responsibility on their shoulders to be the team that gets back to the playoffs. When we (coaches) tell them to run 10 40-yard sprints, they ask to run more. These seniors have done an awesome job of leading.”
The offensive front is going to have a veteran look. Center Austin Rosenbaum is a senior. So are guards Lane Dueringer and Zach Grady. Tackle Wiley Hasty is a senior. The other lineman is sophomore tackle Nick Schoonover.
There’s enough depth that Allen has shifted positions for some of his linemen. Former guard Stan Rinehart (a senior) is now a fullback and former tackle Austin Hornstein (also a senior) is now a tight end and Allen said “essentially gives us six offensive linemen.”
Veterans will be visible elsewhere. Quarterback Ross Royal is a senior, and one of the receiving targets will be his twin brother, Drake.
The four defensive starters who return are seniors: the Royal twins in the secondary and linemen Hornstein and Michael Cler, whom Allen said, “has the potential to have an outstanding year.”
Allen, who has 53 squad members, finds himself in a new role this fall. After nine years as head coach while being dean of students, he is now head coach and assistant principal.
GCMS opens Friday at Lexington.