FRANKLIN FURNACE – For Green’s eight man class of seniors, last season’s dream run to an 8-3 record and the school’s first playoff appearance since 1990 is about all you could ask for. Devin Hossfield, Troy Otworth, Trevor Darnell, Caleb Derifield, Mason Hensley, Ethan Carpenter, Seth Imes, and Will Imes make up the Bobcats senior class in 2019 after an incredible junior season that took Franklin Furnace and frankly much of Southern Ohio on a ride.
However, that was their junior season. All of that took place in a year when those eight knew they still had one more season together as a team. For Darnell and Derifield, the two weeks till the start of their senior season couldn’t be going any slower.
“I’m looking forward to playing with the boys,” Darnell said. “Lost a couple of kids, and everyone has high expectations for us this season. We’re going to try and live up to that.”
“We’ve been playing together for the last twelve years,” Derifield said. “Me, Trevor Darnell, Seth Imes, and Will Imes, we’ve always been here for each other and played with each other. Playing out this last season is going to be great.”
After their best season in nearly three decades and the return of most of their key pieces from last year’s team, there has been much discussion as to whether or not the Bobcats can contend for that top spot in the SOC I after finishing in second a year ago. And, with Oak Hill (back to back conference champions) moving up to the SOC II this season, one would assume that would make Green the favorites.
But Darnell and Derifield don’t see things that way. They know that just like their historic season a year ago, a conference championship won’t be handed over easily.
“We’re taking it day-by-day,” Darnell said. “We’re working hard every day to make sure we get better, taking each game one at a time when they get here.”
“The expectations for us are high, we get that,” Derifield said. “We don’t get to where we want to be if we rush anything. We lose people, gain people, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to keep working and be just as good of a football team as last year, but we have to take it day-by-day.”
The Bobcats defense a year ago was one to behold, and luckily for the fans in Franklin Furnace, Green returns two of their all-district first team defenders in 2018 in Lonnie Smith and Caleb Derifield.
It’s really hard to be a good defense or a good offense without solid line play, on both sides of the ball. Luckily for Green, Darnell believes that their line has been their strength through this point in camp.
“Our line’s been great,” Darnell said. “We have four senior lineman. That’s a lot of experience and a lot of hard work those guys have put in.”
With less than two weeks until the start of the regular season, Darnell and Derifield are still focused on getting better while being cautious with each passing day in hopes they can compete for the school’s first outright conference title since 1990.
”I don’t want to make any goals just yet, we really want to take it game by game,” Darnell said. “We’ve got a low number of kids (twenty on the Bobcats roster), so it’s hard to make goals for a ten game season.”
“It’s going to be a fun season,” Derifield said. “People will be talking about us, I’m excited to see how it all plays out.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved