GLENCOE — It is not every year a high school in Class 3A returns four ASWA all-state players.
Athlete Dylan Stone, linebacker Mason Brown, defensive back Pace Ozmint and running back Thomas Ozmint are back. Stone, Brown and Pace Ozmint made first team.
Tyler Johnson, who is now playing for Jacksonville State, is the lone Glencoe all-state player not returning.
However, for Glencoe, the experience doesn’t stop there. During its spring jamboree game against Anniston, every Yellow Jackets starter was either a junior or senior.
“It’s unbelievable,” Glencoe head coach Lee Ozmint of having four returning all-state players. “All-state is great, but it’s label, and it’s a label that is given outside of the team. In my opinion, we have a lot of all-state players, but won’t get the recognition.
“However, without the Jeff Fords, Baley Brits, there will be no Thomas Ozmint or Dylan Stone, and they understand that and so do I. That is simply a title is given to them by a third party, but they also understand that it’s a responsibility to leave up to that.”
After being selected to the all-state team as an honorable mention, Thomas Ozmint is using that to set a new personal goal for the new season, and it started to show during the Yellow Jackets’ game against the Bulldogs in May. He led the team with four rushing touchdowns.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about,” he said. “Even being selected as an all-state player with them was something I was glad happened, but now it’s a personal goal to actually make it and not be an honorable mention.
“It’s not just me running the ball. Whether it’s me or Dylan out there running the ball, neither one of us runs the same when the other isn’t out there. Our offensive line plays a huge success in our running game.”
The experienced showed greatly during a Tuesday afternoon workout session when senior Andrew Wilson led portions of workouts because one assistant coach was absent.
With all the upperclassmen starting for Glencoe, the Yellow Jackets were ranked as the No. 8 team in the preseason Class 3A rankings. They are also one of the top contenders in a tough Class 3A, Region 6 race.
“The question is, can we stay focused each week on what we need to do so we can take care of business each week,” Lee Ozmint said. “I’m not really concerned about wins or losses; I just want us to get better every day, every week. We have to win each day, and if we do that, wins and losses will take care of themselves.
“The team to beat has been and will be Piedmont, and Wellborn is right with them. I know that and everyone else knows that.”
Despite the Saks Wildcats (595 points scored last season) moving out of the region and up to Class 4A, Glencoe’s defense still will have to face the offenses of Piedmont (562), region newcomer Walter Wellborn (386) and Weaver (241) this season.
“We have the most potential we have had in a long time,” Brown said. “But that means nothing if we don’t put in the hard work. Our leaders have to lead, and having a lot of experience can help us out, but that means nothing if we don’t put in the work.
“There are better athletes than us and if you sized us up against other athletes from other teams, you’re going to pick them. But if you take us and the intensity we bring to the field, there is no comparison.”