Evergreen football preview: Green with Excitement

Depth at Evergreen allows speedy all-league defensive back to focus on offense

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 
photoRey Green

Evergreen Plainsmen

Coach: Don Johnson Jr.

2013 record: 4-5, 1-4 4A GSHL.

Key players: Justice Murphy, sr., wr; Rey Green, jr., rb/db; Kobey Eaton, sr., wr/db; Bradon Bea, jr., qb; Jerrin Williams, sr., qb/db; Billy Nelson, sr., rb/db; Cameron Coffler, so., dl; D.J. Roberts, jr., lb; Nate Trevino, so., db; J.R. Mataia, jr., dl; Austin Wright, sr., dl; Andy Tran, sr., ol; Mitch Carnahan, sr., lb; Isaiah Leukeman, sr., dl; Ray Salanoa, so., ol; Tupre Wickliff sr., wr.

Season outlook: This team is loaded with athletes, including a couple of new faces. "We're 10 times better than we were last year," Johnson said. At the same time, he is not predicting anything other than being competitive every week. "We're looking to get it together early and gel late."

2014 SCHEDULE

Sept. 5 Eisenhower

Sept. 13 at Todd Beamer

Sept. 19 Heritage*

Sept. 26 at Camas*

Oct. 3 Union*

Oct. 10 at Yelm

Oct. 17 at B. Ground*

Oct. 24 Skyview*

Oct. 31 Mountain View*

  • -- 4A GSHL game

Home games played at McKenzie Stadium

For more on high school football, go to The Columbian's high schools sports blog at:

blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports

Coming Sunday: Union

Rey Green was one of the best defensive backs in the county last year, voted second-team honors in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League as a sophomore.

This year, he probably will only see defense sparingly, perhaps in nickel coverage.

Don't feel bad for him.

In fact, Green says this is a good thing for him, and a great thing for the Evergreen Plainsmen.

"This means our team is going to be very deep," said Green, who expects to shine on offense as a running back for the Plainsmen.

The Plainsmen have a lot of skill at the skill positions.

"We're going to be able to do things we weren't able to do last year," Green promises.

Such as?

"I don't want to say too much."

He will say that although he loves playing offense and defense, it is better for the team if he can focus mostly on one side of the ball.

"If I'm doing my job, I believe everyone else can do their jobs, too," Green said. "I know my guys are depending on me, so I have to go 110 percent for them."

Evergreen coach Don Johnson Jr., said Green uses that mentality away from the game, as well.

"He's a guy who if he got a pass to come to the office during English class, he'd be mad because he enjoys school that much," Johnson said.

Green smiled when he was told that story. Then nodded his head in agreement.

"I honestly love going to school every day," Green said. "The campus is very welcoming. All the teachers care so much."

He then named more than a half-dozen teachers who have made a positive impact in his life.

"They expect a lot out of us. Coming in as a freshman, I took regular classes. I was pushed to do AP and honors classes," Green said.

This year, his junior year, he is taking three advanced placement courses.

He will focus on football at the appropriate time, but during the school day, it's all about school.

"I hate missing classes. If you miss class, even five minutes, you're going to be behind," Green said. "I don't like to be late. I don't like to be behind. I was raised better than that."

One of Green's biggest influences is his grandfather, or "Grandpa Carl" as he is known around Evergreen.

He attends just about every practice and goes to all of Rey's games. Rey Green does not need coaches to hold him accountable. His grandpa does that.

If Green drops a pass in practice, he drops to the field for some push-ups. Green does not have to do push-ups on the field if he makes mistakes during games, but he does owe those push-ups to his grandpa when he gest home. One game, his grandfather counted 11 miscues. So Rey did 110 push-ups.

"People ask, 'Aren't you scared of your grandpa?' Nah. He's my best friend. He's a softy."

A softy with some great advice.

"He has always told me if you want something you gotta go get it," Green said. "Football or classroom. Nothing's going to come to you."

His work in football has piqued the interest of college coaches. He has received some offers from smaller schools and has been contacted by some Division I giants. He has two more years of high school football, though, before he has to make that decision.

This season, Green has high expectations for himself, but more importantly, for his team. But because the Plainsmen have several players capable of doing great things with the ball in their hands, there might not be any big individual numbers.

That is why the Plainsmen call themselves "No ego" Evergreen.

"We leave our egos at the door," Green said. "Everybody's going to get the ball. Everybody's going to do their jobs. That's what's going to get us a championship. We're a family."