FRANKLIN FURNACE — Two-thirds of the Green football senior class have been previously named to the Southeast Ohio all-District Division VII team — as voted upon by members of the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association.
Lonnie Smith, the 2018 Southern Ohio Conference Division I Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, and Ethan Huffman, a first-team all-SE District member in 2019, have certainly made their impact felt prior to their senior season.
Alongside fellow senior D.J. Barker, the Bobcats’ trio of 2020 football seniors is doing all the right things ahead of its last season on the field in Franklin Furnace, ensuring the team is ready for game one.
“During the summer, we’ve been coming out here to practice, most of us getting here at 7:30 a.m.,” Barker said. “Getting out here at 8 a.m., putting in our work, doing our conditioning. The way our season is looking right now, we look great, we’re timing up our offense and putting in our defense.”
“We’ve been getting in the weight-room facility all summer long,” Huffman. “We’ve been coming in and setting a good example for our freshmen because we have a lot of those. We’ve really been starting to time things up and it’s starting to click.”
“Practice has been really good so far,” Smith said. “We’ve been doing a lot of conditioning, so I feel pretty good about this year.”
Green will be led on the gridiron this season by first-year head coach Chad Coffman, a former Symmes Valley assistant under head coach Rusty Webb.
Coffman inherits a roster of 20 Bobcat players ahead of the 2020 campaign from former head coach Ted Newsome, who finished 13-8 over his final two seasons in Franklin Furnace.
While the process of transitioning to a new coach sometimes presents its challenges, Huffman says he and his teammates have been working to time down the different aspects of their offensive and defensive play-calling.
“It was different at first having a new coach,” Huffman said. “New offense and new plays, but we’re really starting to get used to it and getting things timed down really good.”
Of the Bobcats’ 20-man roster, seven are freshmen and five are sophomores.
This means not only does this Bobcat senior class have to set an example for its younger teammates, but also be willing to see their strengths.
Smith sees the strength of Green as its ability to play at a high pace.
“We’ve been showing them what we’ve got and how hard to work out on the field,” Barker said. “And it’s also to show the coaches that you’re willing to be here.”
“Strengths of this year’s team are going to be our ability to really pound the ball with some high-paced plays,” Smith said.
Following the OHSAA Board of Directors approving a six-game season due to complications with the coronavirus pandemic, Barker and Huffman are hopeful to be able to play their senior season — and prove it’s not the size of a team that matters, but rather the results it produces and how it goes about representing its community.
“It would mean a lot to represent the community,” Barker said. “This will probably be one of the smallest senior classes in the next couple of years because of who is coming up, so it’d be great to be able to play.”
“It’d mean everything to get out here on those Friday nights,” Huffman said. “To represent Franklin Furnace and just show everyone what we have.”