FAIRLEA- The Greenbrier East Spartans defeated Lincoln County 48-13 just over a week ago and put a final bow on the 2023 season.
East got going early and never truly let up, letting out a disappointing, season-long set of frustrations, and unfortunately for the Panthers, they were on the receiving end of them. The Spartans finally put it all together on their senior night against a team that wasn’t great, but they were not terrible either. In fact, Lincoln County came into the game on a 2-game winning streak and was 3-6 on the season.
It was a great win for the Spartans and a testament to never giving up no matter the circumstances, and East passed that test with flying colors. Here are some thoughts on that game and what may be to come for Greenbrier East.
The seniors were special all game:
Senior night is an emotional time for players and their families and friends in the stands, but it is also a time to dig down deep one last time and perform well in front of those friends and family. And that is exactly what the seniors did.
Landon Vanfosson opened the game with a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown, Carter Hamilton recovered a fumble on the subsequent kickoff, and a couple possessions later, Aiden Cole got a huge sack that eventually led to a Panther punt. Abram Wickline got in on the act with a 38-yard TD catch and was active all game. Austin Roberts was flying around all over the field disrupting the Panther offense, as did Weston Pence. James Viney was in on some plays, Robert Bennett got some targets, Garon Wiseman had some nice blocks up front, James McCraw and Sam Wright were around the ball consistently, Cody Wood was involved on some special teams, and Cole capped it all with his first career touchdown on his first carries of the season. All in all, a better senior night could not have been scripted in Hollywood and all those players will have something to remember for years to come.
A good finale for quarterback Brody Hamric:
Sophomore QB Brody Hamric ended his year with positives to build on for next season. He went 13-of-23 for 206 yards and four TD passes. He also ran for a score. Hamric was a consistently good option for East and showed poise, resiliency, and skill most of the season. With several of his favorite targets and weapons back next year, we may see Hamric take another giant step forward. He will now focus on the upcoming basketball season as Spartan fans will continue to be able to watch his progress on the hardwood as well.
Kaden Stone and Grant Burdette stamped their sophomore campaigns:
Kaden Stone had two touchdown receptions and was a hard-nosed player for East all season. He developed a bond with Hamric as did fellow sophomore tight end Grant Burdette, who may have been Hamric’s favorite target all year. Stone finished with 35 yards and the two TDs and Burdette hauled in six catches for 102 yards and a score as well. Those two, along with Nate Suttle, who missed the last couple games due to injury, will be back to anchor what should be a much-improved Spartan team next year.
So, where does East go from here?
That’s the word I threw around all year from the Greenbrier Valley Channel box and behind my desk at home. People get tired of hearing how young the team was and rightfully so, as no one likes excuses in sports. However, the team WAS very young in key spots. Several players had to play major snaps that originally were probably only supposed to be role players for this season. Throw in the players that transferred that had some talent, and it was a tough position to be in from the get-go.
Losing a few of the key seniors will sting for next year as they seemed to hold the team together near the end, and then went out and performed admirably one final time.
But when you can bring back Hamric, Suttle, Burdette, Stone, Bo Bowyer, Brayden Brown, Ashton Mentz, Rhett Baker, Gage Blevins, Owen Romero and Daniel Butler, there is a solid nucleus to build around if the offseason workouts go as planned. There are also players like Jace Obermeyer, Deandre Toliver, Parker Vance, and Keyshawn Bland, among a few others, that saw action and could develop quickly.
So, have faith, Spartan fans. This team will be back, and it could be as early as 2024.
Please watch for the offensive and defensive season recaps which will be out soon.
FRIDAY NIGHT QUOTE TO LIVE BY:
“To the young: Work, work, work, and then work some more.” –Former Baltimore Ravens safety, Ed Reed.
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