By Matthew Girard
Killeen Daily Herald
The Shoemaker Grey Wolves might have caught on to something that could be the key to their success in the upcoming 2007 season.
Heading into tonight's spring game at Shoemaker High School, "chemistry" has been the buzzword circulating through the field house during the team's final week of spring practices.
Grey Wolves' coach Ken Gray said "chemistry" is how he spells success.
"I'm really pleased with the way the kids have worked," Gray said. "They kind of have a little bit of a unit and that's something which I felt like a year ago we didn't have. Right now, I feel like the kids are working as one and working as a unit."
Wide receiver and junior-to-be Derrick Mays said he has seen more team work this spring.
"We are working more as a team and we are all on point," Mays said. "The offense is looking good this year and the defense is coming along."
The Grey Wolves are coming off a 2006 campaign in which they won just two games.
Gray said his team's unity starts with the offensive line.
"I think the biggest change this spring has been the offensive line," Gray said. "Our offensive line has done a tremendous job and I think with them improving as quickly as they have, it's made the spring a lot smoother."
Linebacker and senior-to-be Craig Freeland said the Grey Wolves' offensive front has held its own against the defense during spring practice.
"The offensive line has really been stepping up with people gaining weight and stepping up in the weight room," Freeland said. "They've been giving the defense more of an effort and that makes us work harder."
Although the Shoemaker defense will have to replace Eugene Daniels (Colorado State) and Brandon Joiner (Texas A&M), Freeland said the defense hasn't lost a step.
"Coming into the spring game last year, everyone knew that our team was based around our defense, but now we are more balanced," Freeland said. "We are based around our team effort and our speed and our dedication to every play."
Despite the "buzz" around next season, Gray said his team still has a few loose ends to tie up.
"Special teams-wise, we haven't really put that together yet," Gray said. "Defensively, we still have some questions even though the kids have really stepped up. We are still looking for this player of those pieces of the puzzle that will fit for us."
Even though Gray still has some questions to answer, he was quick to state his excitement about the team "chemistry."
"The whole chemistry, the whole attitude of our team offensively and defensively has been tremendous."
Shoemaker's spring game is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. at the Shoemaker High School football field.
Freeland said he just wants to get the regular season underway.
"We're pumped because every year, every school thinks that Shoemaker is so small and we can't compete," Freeland said. "A lot of people don't know that Shoemaker has the biggest heart in the game.
"Teams better be ready."
Contact Matthew Girard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569