Photo by Theo Tate
The Granite City football team begins its season on Friday against Jerseyville. Last year, the Warriors finished 1-8 overall and 0-7 in Southwestern Conference play.
After playing the Marion Wildcats in their season opener for nine straight years, the Granite City Warriors made a change to their schedule in 2014.
The Warriors replaced Marion with Riverview Gardens. Granite City played the Rams in its home opener in its second week of the season and cruised to a 21-0 win.
It was the only victory the Warriors had in 2014. Granite City lost its final seven games — all of them were in Southwestern Conference play — and finished 1-8.
“It was tough,” Granite City coach Carl Luehmann said. “We were competitive in some games. We got one win against Riverview. We had a good game against Jerseyville in the beginning of the year and had a good game against Collinsville. But our conference, as always, is really strong and we struggled in our conference.”
With several key returning players, the Warriors are setting their sights on going to the state playoffs for the first time in four years.
“This year, I’d like to go to the playoffs,” Granite City senior lineman Caleb Venne said. “We probably have the biggest line that we had in the last couple of years, so I feel like we have a good chance of achieving that. I’d like to make a lot of the younger kids better. So for next year, they’ll have a better chance of making it to the playoffs, too.”
The Warriors begin their season at 7 p.m. Friday against the Jerseyville Panthers at home. Last year, Granite City began its season with a 21-12 loss to Jerseyville.
“I think we’re going to be a very much improved team this year from last year,” Luehmann said. “The kids have been working hard all summer. We had two-a-days last week, so the kids are really excited, energized and ready to go. They’re to a point where they were tired of banging on their teammates and they want to go hit somebody else.”
The Warriors begin their conference season Sept. 11 against Belleville East at home.
Venne is one of the returning players for the Warriors. Last year, he earned all-conference honors on both sides of the ball.
“Caleb has gotten bigger and stronger and he’s ready to go,” Luehmann said.
Seniors Darrion Flemons, Gabe Jarman and Ron Allen and junior TaMojia Johnson are among the top returning offensive players. Jarman returns as quarterback after throwing for 915 yards with nine touchdowns last season.
“We expect a lot of good things out of him this year,” Luehmann said. “We expect a lot of leadership. I think he’s going to be much more improved. He has matured into a good player for us.”
Flemons earned second-team all-conference honors at wide receiver in 2014 after finishing with 544 yards receiving with four touchdowns. Allen, another wide receiver, finished with 74 yards receiving and three touchdowns last fall. Johnson is one of the linemen.
Junior linebacker Kyle Thompson is the Warriors’ top returning defensive player. He finished with a team-high 85 tackles a year ago.
Quick Hits/2015 Outlook
TEAM: Granite City Warriors
HEAD COACH: Carl Luehmann
2014 RECORD: 1-8, 0-7
CAREER RECORD: 5 years, 12-34
LAST PLAYOFF: 2011 first round Class 7A
NAME HT WT POS
Ronald Allen 6-3 175 WR/DB
Blake Carmack 6-0 255 LB/OL
Darrion Flemons 5-10 180 WR/DB
Gabe Jarman 6-1 185 QB
Jacob Loftus 6-1 210 TE/DL
Jordan Martin 5-8 145 WR/DB
DeVonte Nance 6-0 275 OL/DL
Caleb Venne 6-2 280 OL/DL
Matt Wylie 5-11 240 LB/OL
Nicholas Zambito 6-0 200 OL/DL
Brandon Bettag 5-3 155 RB/DB
Jonathan Boomquist 5-7 185 OL/DL
Trevor Corey 5-9 130 WR/DB
Torrey Deal 6-2 155 WR/DB
Ryan Earney 5-9 210 LB/OL
Chase Gansner 5-8 230 OL/DL
Earl Green 5-6 130 WR/DB
Steve Jenkins 6-0 340 OL/DL
TaMojia Johnson 6-2 315 OL/DL
B.J. Niesporck 5-8 175 RB/LB
Trevor Nolan 6-1 200 OL/DL
Tre’mez Norman 6-0 170 RB/DB
Jacob Spears 6-0 160 WR/DB
Kyle Thompson 5-9 185 LB/TE
Tyler Timmons 5-8 165 WR/DB
Kendrick Williba 5-10 155 QB/WR
Jonathan Benetiz 5-4 160 RB/DB
Daniel Eudy 5-10 235 OL/DL
Darrion Harvey 5-9 211 LB/DL
Cody Kuenkler 6-1 240 OL/DL
Hector Leon 5-9 136 QB
Adam Marmion 6-2 180 LB/TE
Alexander Martin 5-10 141 QB/DB
Eugene Williba 5-7 145 WR/DB
Aug. 28, 7 p.m. vs. Jerseyville
Sept. 5, 1 p.m. at Riverview Gardens
Sept. 11, 7 p.m. vs. Belleville East*
Sept. 18, 7 p.m. at East St. Louis*
Sept. 25, 7 p.m. vs. Collinsville*
Oct. 2, 7 p.m. at O'Fallon*
Oct. 9, 7 p.m. at Alton*
Oct. 16, 7 p.m. vs. Belleville West*
Oct. 23, 7 p.m. vs. Edwardsville*