Grand Valley hopes calm and crazy leads to wins
There’s a leadership yin-yang in the Grand Valley football team’s backfield this fall.
Tyler Scott is a three-year starter for the Grand Valley High School football team, and he responds to Cardinals head coach Mike Johnson with a simple “yes sir” or “no sir.” He’s poised and relatively quiet. He leads by example.
Bryan Hegwood, who is moving from wingback to featured halfback this season, leads in a much different way.
“He’s a crazy redneck,” Johnson said. “He’s one of those kids, you hear him start up his truck in the parking lot, and you can feel it from inside the gym. He’s loud, he’s proud, and he’s a vocal leader. He’s also the type of kid who will be out there popping his shoulder back in (after a dislocation). He’s an absolute nut. He’s full of energy.”
Hegwood’s preferred brand of leadership?
“I like to yell at them,” Hegwood said of his teammates. “Not cuss words or anything, but yelling. I like to get everyone excited and pumped up.”
Hegwood’s enthusiasm shouldn’t be difficult to instill. The Cardinals have a lot to be excited about. Grand Valley comes off a trip to the Class 2A playoffs and a second-place finish in the 2A Western Slope Conference behind tradition-rich Bayfield.
Johnson knows his team will have to work to maintain that level of success after losing nearly every skill-position player aside from Scott and Hegwood. But building an offense is easier with the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Scott, and Johnson predicted Scott could throw for more than 2,000 yards this season.
“We’re obviously going to have to feature Ty a little more,” Johnson said. “I really see no problem with that. He’s the best quarterback in the state, in 2A at least.”
Colleges around Colorado appear to agree with Johnson’s assessment of Scott, as Colorado State University-Pueblo, Fort Lewis College and Western State Colorado University have expressed interest in Scott.
With Scott under center, and a host of young and undersized speedsters at receiver, Johnson began orchestrating a spread offense in a conference known mostly for smash-mouth running games.
Scott said the conversion to a spread offense has been helped by a group of linemen he’s grown up with. Four of them are seniors.
“I’m really close with these guys,” Scott said. “I feel comfortable behind them, and we all know each other really well at this point.”
Johnson added, “We’re still a multi-set team, and we really always have been. But with a young man like Ty under center and all the talented players we have, it makes sense to focus on spread sets a little more.”
Of his chances in the conference, Johnson said the Cardinals can contend, but it’s wide open.
“All the teams that struggled last year were really young,” Johnson said. “Pagosa Springs will be good, Basalt is big, and you don’t expect what happened at Olathe last year to happen again.”