BROOKFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Brookfield’s success this fall rests squarely on the shoulders of four-year starting quarterback Haden Gibson.
He was named to the WKBN Big 22 Class of 2019. Gibson accounted for nearly 3,000 total yards and 37 touchdowns last fall.
According to Warriors’ Head Coach Randy Clark, Gibson is one of the best leaders that he’s ever coached.
“It makes you feel pretty good knowing that I made a difference,” Gibson said. “But, I’ve really gotta stay on my teammates’ back and get them on with me and push through it as a team.”
“He’s very smart on and off the field. His speed and his game speed is what sets him aside from a lot of other people,” Clark said.
A return trip to the playoffs will also depend on the Warriors’ growth and development at wide receiver and running back. Gibson’s top-five receivers and two-time 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Briggs were all lost to graduation.
“It’s the next man up because normally you do change,” Clark explained. “But, with the talent that we have at the freshman and sophomore level at those positions, I got a lot of faith in them that they’re gonna be pretty good Friday night players.”
Gibson agrees with the approach.
“It doesn’t change much, honestly,” he said. “We’ve got guys that are just as athletic as the guys that we had last year. It’s all about getting our minds right and knowing what we’re doing.”
Helping the Warriors’ cause is an offensive line that returns completely intact.
“We got speed and we have size, and we have some depth,” Clark said. “We’ve got five offensive linemen and only one of them is gonna play both ways. Normally, all five of them are playing on defense. That’s what we’re pushing for.”
Some familiar faces will be on the Warriors’ sideline this fall. Coach Clark has five former players, including his son Alex, serving as assistants.
“Well, it’s always good when an ex-player of mine calls and is interested in coaching,” Clark said. “It’s great to have them. They know my system, they know how I coach. It hasn’t changed. Not just the X and O part of it, but the way to go about it means so much to us this year.”
It is influence that the Warriors hope will translate into an eighth trip to week 11 in program history, and far beyond.
“With Springfield making it to the state semifinals, we’ve got them week two,” Clark reflected.
“The message to our group is that we were right there last year in two of the losses we had. A couple things would have swung our way, if we had done something different here or there, we probably could have been playing too. I think we had the team to do that, and I think we have the team this year that can back that up.”
Brookfield will kick off the season on Friday, August 28 at home against McDonald.