Nelson instills LEAD approach at East
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay East football team is looking for any little spark to jolt them up the Fox River Classic Conference South Division this fall.
This past spring, the Red Devils were victorious over Green Bay West 15-14 in their lone victory of the season.
As great a win against your rival can be, second-year head coach Levi Nelson said he knows it will take lots more hard work and effort to win more than one game this season.
“Every good coach has a playbook for offense and defense,” Nelson said. “Not many of them have one for character development. As Jon Gordon said, ‘If you want to see the fruit, you have to invest in the root.’ We are intentional about how we develop LEAD (love, effort, attitude, discipline). We start at the top with love. We served the student-athletes meals after each practice.”
The Red Devils have gone 26-90 the past 13 seasons and last qualified for the WIAA playoffs in 2007.
The cupboard will not be bare, as senior Oliver Killian, junior Evan Chanthadouangsy and freshman Brant Craw are fighting it out to see who starts at quarterback.
“Whoever our guy is behind center has to be our leader,” Nelson said. “It’s not about who can throw the ball the farthest or who stands out in a 7-on-7 competition, it’s about accountability and who shows up every day.”
In the backfield, East will lean on Adam Lee, Darius Miller and Josiah Poninski.
During the shortened alternate season, the Red Devils scored 60 points in five games in addition to having two forfeit losses.
The split-end position is a deep one, with many guys on the roster listed at the position.
Henry Beyler (flanker) and Mauricio Perez (tight end) return the most experience and will be the ones to watch in the open field.
Beyler also doubles at the kicking position and in the secondary.
Nelson said the offensive line will have to protect the quarterback and block better if they are to put more points on the board in 2021.
Leading the brigade is Anthony Posenke, who was a Fox Valley Classic Conference second-team selection last season.
“It won’t show up in your box score, but (Posenke) is one of our highest academic performers in the classroom,” Nelson said. “Every day in spring before practice, he reported to the library to take care of his obligations.”
East will miss the production of Austin Dewberry and Alex Aoki at linebacker and free safety, respectively.
Newcomers will fill a majority of the 11 members of the defense.
Perez and Posenkewill double on that side of the ball, and Aarion Moore and Juan Grajeda add depth to the defensive line.
“Football is pretty simple,” Nelson said. “You have to block, tackle, score and force turnovers on the other side of the ball. If there was one system that worked to win ball games, everybody would run it. We need to get our kids to buy into what we’re doing here at East.”
East will be in a seven-team division with Green Bay West, Manitowoc Lincoln, Menasha, Notre Dame Academy, Sheboygan North and Sheboygan South.
The Red Devils play their home games at City Stadium, once home to the Green Bay Packers.
“I’m not joking when I say I pinch myself to be coaching at this legendary field,” Nelson said. “It’s unbelievable. I don’t take it lightly.”
Sports editor’s notes: Green Bay East is the fourth local school to be featured in The Press Times.
Green Bay East 2021 regular season schedule
8/20 – Oshkosh West
8/27 – @ Kingsford
9/3 – Notre Dame Academy
9/10 – @ Manitowoc Lincoln
9/17 – Sheboygan South
9/24 – @ Green Bay Southwest
10/1 – @ Green Bay West
10/8 – Sheboygan North
10/15 – @ Menasha
• All games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
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