If Glenn head coach Rob Schoenfeld thinks of this season as a dress rehearsal for the team’s first varsity year next season, so far so good for the Grizzlies.
Glenn is 3-3 this season, playing a mixture of varsity and junior varsity teams from various regions. The three games they’ve lost were all against varsity competition, but there’s no panic whatsoever.
“We’re honestly sitting here and thinking we could be 6-0 right now,” Schoenfeld said. “We need to go through some of those things to learn what it takes to play at the varsity level. For us to compete really well is a positive feeling.”
The Grizzlies three losses came against Paris North Lamar, San Antonio Southside, and Salado all three off which made the playoffs at the varsity level. In all three games, Glenn either held a lead during the game or trailed by less than a score.
The wins have been just as impressive too. The biggest win came against the Westlake JV A team when the Grizzlies scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to rally for a 27-20 win and outgunned the Chaparrals 306-241 in total yards, 172 of which came on the ground.
The schedule worked in Schoenfeld's favor as games didn’t start until Sept. 1.
That change schedule allowed them to add Paris North Lamar, who would normally play a school from Oklahoma in Week 1. And the other varsity teams had private schools on the schedule from last season and say their opponents back out this time around so it worked out perfectly for Glenn to have a strong slate of games.
“The philosophy has always been that we’re going to play above our level if possible and play at least our level in talent in the programs we’re playing against,” Schoenfeld said. “We’ve been very fortunate in who we’ve been able to schedule”
He spent a lot of time talking to Josh Mann at Rouse and Drew Sanders at Vandegrift, both of which started those programs and are still with the schools today, picking their brains about how they went about the second year as an unattached team.
For both those schools, it didn’t take long to make the playoffs and govern further. The Vipers made a run to the second round in their second year in 2011 and the Raiders advanced to the semifinals in their fourth year in 2012.
“The only negative is we feel we could be 6-0 and that’s not window dressing the situation,” Schoenfeld said. “Everybody in the building knows that it could be possible. But we have to go through some adversity and that’s what this year is about.”
On the field, the Grizzlies have been showing steady signs of improvement.
Schoenfeld, a former special teams coach at Cedar Park, said one of the things he wanted to focus on this season was special teams. Last year the team wasn’t as well-rounded with concepts and positioning. This season, however, he said the output on special teams is night and day.
Glenn was still held to a higher special teams standard than most JV teams at their level last season. Pedro Soto was recruited from the soccer team and has made a couple long field goals and hasn’t missed an extra point all year.
“When at first you don’t have confidence when you line up for an extra point and then all of a sudden you do have it, it can make a big difference,” Schoenfeld said.
There was always going to be a two-quarterback system this season for the Grizzlies. Junior Khorin Thompson and sophomore Drew McGuire each present a different set of skills at the position.
Thompson had his best game of the season in the opener, finishing 6-of-12 for 35 yards passing and running for 48 yards and a touchdown in a 10-point loss to Paris North Lamar. He’s been battling some nagging injuries and has seen his playing time decrease in the last two games.
McGuire has stepping nicely, throwing for 126 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Salado on Sept. 29 before finishing 9-of-17 passing for 205 yards and three touchdowns in the Grizzlies’ most recent win against San Antonio Veterans Memorial.
“We kind of expected the guys to improve to a certain level and they’re meeting that level,” Schoenfeld said. “We’ve had to absorb more than we would’ve liked injuries on the defensive front. But injuries always happen and always will be part of football.”
Glenn is not affiliated with any UIL district this season, so the playoff can’t happen. But that doesn’t mean they’re not splitting the season up like the rest of the teams in LISD.
The first five games were non-district play for Glenn and they finished 2-3. The pseudo district campaign began last week in San Antonio against a team that mirrors the Grizzlies in Veterans Memorial and they started the ‘district’ with a 35-6 win.
Like Glenn, the Patriots are in their second year of existence. Schoenfeld said it was not only good from a coaching perspective because the Grizzlies got a win, but it was an apples to apples comparison and he hopes there are more performances like that this season.
Three of the Grizzlies’ final four games are at home. They host San Antonio Harlan on Friday night at Gupton Stadium and then travel to Giddings to take on Fulshear next week. They end the year with home games against Shadow Creek on Saturday, Nov. 4 and Lanier on Nov. 9.
“The biggest benefit of the first six games was that we proved to ourselves that we can play with the people we get out on the field with,” Schoenfeld said. “We did really well. We feel like in our dress rehearsal that we’re 1-0 and we go for 2-0 against San Antonio Harlan this week.”