By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Cruiser football team is loaded with experience this year which has raised expectations for a winning season.
“We think that we have a strong senior class returning for this season, along with a lot of returning juniors who played a significant amount of time last year,” said Groveport Madison Cruiser varsity head football coach Bryan Schoonover. “We are hoping that having an experienced football team will help translate to a successful season.”
Schoonover said some of the top players on the team this year are offensive/defensive linemen Te-Rah Edwards, Nick Wheeler, and Tykel Hancock-Anderson; defensive ends/tight ends Jasiyah Robinson and Derrell Smoot; running back/linebacker Emanual Anthony; linebacker/fullback Skyler Mouser; and linebacker/fullback Allen Joyce.
“These young men are multiple year returners who will bring great leadership, enthusiasm, and a hard nose mentality this team will need to be successful,” said Schoonover.
Schoonover said the teams to beat in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division this year are defending champion Canal Winchester and New Albany.
“Canal won the league last year and New Albany has won multiple titles since the switch over four years ago, so, without hesitation these are the two teams everyone will be gunning for this season,” said Schoonover.
When asked why the annual neighborhood rivalry games with Canal Winchester (on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at Cruiser Stadium) and with Hamilton Township (on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. at Fortress Obetz) are important to the players and communities, Schoonover said, “These are two games are important because they are your neighbors. The players all know one another, have grown up together and flat out want to beat each other. For our community I believe it’s the same thing. People always go back to when they were growing up and the rivalry between those teams, and competitive nature takes over and the community becomes emotionally involved and circle their calendar for those two games. I also just want to make this very clear, these are two games we have circled year in and year out, we talk about those games and we prep for those games year round, so when people ask how special those games are, without question, they are different and will be treated as so.”
High school football is rich in traditions, and Schoonover said there are a couple of Cruiser team traditions he really likes.
“The first is the Fourth of July parade in Groveport,” said Schoonover. “I love the Fourth for starters, but I love our players being in the parade walking down the street interacting with the community. It just brings a great sense of pride to me.”
Schoonover said the second tradition he is fond of is the teams’ senior dinner.
“Our mother club does a great job making our last team meal special for our senior class,” said Schoonover. “Last year we had our coaches serve the players and the mothers. To me it’s a time where there is still work to be done, but also a good time to reflect back on the time spent with our senior class.”
The Groveport Madison Cruisers’ 2019 varsity football schedule:
7 p.m. Aug. 30………….. Westerville North
7 p.m. Sept. 5………….Hamilton Township (at Fortress Obetz)
7 p.m. Sept. 13…….. at Worthington Kilbourne
7 p.m. Sept. 20………Pickerington Central
7 p.m. Sept. 27………..at Olentangy Liberty
7 p.m. Oct. 4……………..at Franklin Heights
7 p.m. Oct. 11………………Canal Winchester
7 p.m. Oct. 18…………………………at Newark
7 p.m. Oct. 25………………………Big Walnut
7 p.m. Nov. 1……………………at New Albany