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Crew of juniors could hold key to BV football success

Group's vast potential has Griffin charged-up

Aug. 16, 2007

Gary Griffin has been talking about this class for a long time.

The Bay View football coach will get to see his talented and already experienced juniors in full force when the Redcats open the 2007 season as one of the favorites in the City Conference. Since his junior cast includes four big-time players, including a returning all-state running back, it is hard for Griffin to mask his excitement.

"Right now, three or four days into it, it's the best team we've ever had," the fourth-year coach said. "But it just depends on attitude, on heart, on a lot of things that we can't judge until we start hitting other people in the mouth."

The team will look to avoid the disappointment of 2006, when the Redcats lost five of their last six contests, including their first-round WIAA Division 1 playoff game against Kenosha Bradford.

"Experience with our young players is something thing that's a big plus for us," Griffin said. "The second we lost to Riverside (igniting the stretch of losses), we started playing the young guys.

"We're only deep at one spot, and that's at running back. We don't have the depth a Homestead or a Mukwonago has, but man for man, if we stay healthy, I'd put us up with anybody."

Griffin said he had three running backs electronically timed at 4.6 seconds or faster in the 40-yard dash, including junior Dominic Sutton, junior Ira Howard and a player many people will have an eye on, senior Lenier Johnson.

Johnson opened the 2006 season with 353 yards of rushing against Wilmot and finished with 1,575 yards, averaging close to 10 yards per carry and earning a first-team all-state honors from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association.

Lineman Tim Leiser, cornerback James Jordan and quarterback Montrell Davidson have a wealth of senior experience amassed since their sophomore seasons. Griffin also talked up sophomore offensive linemen Davonti Bell and Ferrel McCord, yet still it was the junior class that gave Griffin the most optimism.

"They all started last year and so did three freshmen, so we're going to be OK," Griffin said. "I'm looking forward to those guys not being wet behind the ears anymore."

The coach made a trip to Canton, Ohio for the NFL Youth Summit in July as a state representative to discuss high school football topics with NFL officials. Griffin concerns himself with the world of the inner-city athlete as much in life as on the football field.

"I got an opportunity to speak with some ex-NFL players and talked about our plight in the city and what we do on a daily basis," he said. "I wouldn't want to give my job up. You come home at night, tired as hell, hate everybody, but you get up in the morning and it starts again.

"I don't coach for the satisfaction right now. I know 20 years from now when I'm walking through the mall or grocery store, I'll see kids I coached walking by, dressed nice and family men that went to college with nice careers. Those are the things I'm looking forward to.

JR Radcliffe can be reached

at (262) 446-6612

or jradcliffe@cninow.com.

BV Vital Statistics

Enrollment: 1,937

Nickname: Redcats

Conference: City

Last Year, Overall: 4-6

Last Year, Conference: 3-4

Playoffs: Lost in first round

The Sidelines

Head Coach: Gary Griffin (fourth season)

Assistants: Troy Seabrook, Matt Kallin, Dale Feuling, Jeff Geil, Jamaal Hardy, Brian Debelak

Look Back

2006 Season in Review:

Bay View 26, Wilmot 22

Grant (Ill.) 21, Bay View 6

Bay View 48, Pulaski 0

Bay View 38, Hamilton 7

Riverside 26, Bay View 12

Bay View 36, Washington 8

Vincent 14, Bay View 8

South 14, Bay View 12

Bradley Tech 21, Bay View 0

Kenosha Bradford 35, Bay View 14

Look Ahead

2007 Schedule:

Aug. 24 - at Green Bay Preble^

Aug. 31 - Milwaukee Pius XI^

Sept. 7 - Milwaukee Riverside

Sept. 14 - Milwaukee Washington*

Sept. 21 - Milwaukee South*

Sept. 28 - Milwaukee Pulaski

Oct. 5 - Milwaukee Hamilton

Oct. 12 - Bradley Tech

Oct. 17 - Milwaukee Vincent#

Conference games 7:30 p.m.

^Nonconference games 7 p.m.

* 4:30 p.m.

# 3 p.m.

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