FAIRLEA- The 2023 season began and was over at the snap of a finger for the Greenbrier East Spartans as it seemed to fly by as basketball season is getting ready to kick into high gear.
The Spartans did not get as many wins as they hoped, but the numerous challenges they faced in the offseason and some tough injuries during the year played a big factor into that equation.
East lost several players to the high school’s version of the transfer portal before the season began, had a handful of players not play that had played before, and they immediately began the season with a lot of youth and inexperience.
However, the team battled game in and game out and even notched a season-ending victory over Lincoln County to give this coming offseason a better outlook than a loss would have.
Here is a look back at the 2023 Spartans on the offensive side of the ball:
Points per game- 18.2
Pass completions per game- 11.9
Pass yds per game- 153.7
Rush attempts per game- 28.7
Rush yds per game- 107
First Downs per game- 11.6
Quarterback- Brody Hamric stepped in as a sophomore and played the most important position on the football field admirably. He completed 119-of-225 passes for 1,537 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also threw 13 interceptions but countered those with five rushing scores. He won our (WVDN) player of the week twice and grew a little bit every game and should be ready to lead the Spartans for the next two years.
Running Back- Nate Suttle and Carter Hamilton got the bulk of the work out of the offensive backfield and formed a nice thunder and lightning duo. The biggest issue at the position was the health of Suttle. When the sophomore was at full strength he was as important a weapon as East had on offense. He had a four touchdown first half against Ripley that really broke him out, but after that, he went down with an injury that ended his season when he chased down Marquel Lowe of Princeton to prevent a touchdown but landed awkwardly. He finished with 97 carries, 376 yards and four TDs. He also caught 20 balls for 348 yards and three scores. Hamilton was the power to Suttle’s speed and finished the year with 209 yards on 81 totes and one TD.
Receiver/Tight End- East had three main targets at this spot. Grant Burdette put together a solid sophomore campaign with 39 catches, 515 yards, and two touchdowns. He improved as the season went on and it was easy to see. Abram Wickline put a cap on his good career with 33 receptions, 435 yards and three scores. Kaden Stone led the team in touchdown catches with five and added 23 catches and 305 yards. Two of his team-leading scores came in the season finale and should provide a boost of confidence for him heading into next year.
Offensive Line- Unheralded, Underappreciated, but oh so important are the big guys up front. And look, even I am mentioning them last–not intentionally, however– Without the play of Aiden Cole, Garon Wiseman, Gage Wickline, Bo Bowyer, Ashton Mentz, Austin Roberts, and Cody Wood, and others, absolutely zero yards would have been gained by the skill players. The line paved the way for 107 yards on the ground per game. This position has some good young players as well that are just looking for a chance to prove themselves, and most of them will get that chance next season.
Next season, East will look to get back on track as a team, and the offense hopes to play a big role in that development. There are enough skill guys returning to form a formidable team, but the key will be gaining experience through offseason workouts and staying relatively healthy for a full season.
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