LAKEWOOD — With 17 returning first-team, second-team or honorable mention all-conference selections to the Class 3A Mt. Metro League, Green Mountain’s football team could very easily be complacent coming into its 2019 campaign.
However, that isn’t the case for Rams’ coach Jesse German as he leads Green Mountain — ranked No. 6 in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s 3A football rankings that is solely voted on by coaches this season — into its 44th season of football.
“This year we are team 44,” said German, who is in his second season at the helm of the Rams’ football program. “At our first team meeting we said we will not ride on their (last year’s team) coattails. My message to them is step it up.”
Despite having so much returning talent from last year’s squad that won a conference title and advanced to the second round of the 3A state tournament with a 9-3 record, German expects improvement.
“We have a lot of returners back, which is a plus. Now we expect them to play better than they did last year,” German said. “A big thing is if we can focus on ‘team’ the individual things will take care of themselves.”
The returning talent starts with quarterback/safety Trey Towndrow who begins his third season at the Rams’ starting signal-caller. He was the overall offensive MVP in the Mt. Metro League last season.
“It goes by so fast,” Towndrow said of starting his senior season. “I’m just excited to be here with these boys that I’m with. It should be fun.”
Towndrow passed for nearly 1,500 yards last season and also rushed for over 1,000 yards on the ground, scoring a dozen touchdowns.
“He is a real cool customer and kids feed off that, but he also has a lot of juice,” German said of Towndrow. “We’ll try to put him in the right situations. We are excited to see what he does this year. The sky is the limit.”
Green Mountain returns leading running back Quinn Meinert (1,103 yards and 13 touchdowns) and leading wide receiver Trey Corkin (735 yards and seven touchdowns).
“There is definitely a different atmosphere,” Corkin said. “Last year was a big year for Green Mountain and we brought a lot of new energy. This year we are ramping it up to a whole new level.”
The Rams also returns their entire starting offensive line, a fact that hasn’t been overlooked by Meinert.
“It was definitely exciting for us,” Meinert said of the offensive numbers the Rams put up last year. “The offensive line, those rinos, are the hardest working guys out here.”
Defensively, Will Banks will anchor an impressive defensively line. As a junior, Banks led the team with eight sacks. Individual honors isn’t something Banks is looking to accomplish this season, it’s all about team.
“I’m really not focused on stats. No matter what I’m doing I want to help better the team. I just want to be there for this team,” Banks said. “I always knew our team had a lot of potential. We just really pushed ourselves last year, but now we are focused on this year. This year it’s all about year 44.”
One significant loss due to graduation for Green Mountain was Ryan Burdi, who led the team averaging nearly 14 tackles per game. Burdi was also a huge factor on special teams leading the Rams in kick off and punt return yards.
German said Green Mountain will change things around defensively to soften the loss of Burdi.
The Rams start with a huge season-opener against Harrison at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, at Jeffco Stadium. Not only will it be Green Mountain’s homecoming game, but Harrison handed the Rams a 34-21 loss last season in which Green Mountain got off to a 0-2 start.
Week 2 will be a trip to Palisade to try to get some revenge on the Bulldogs after last year’s loss. Palisade was No. 3 in CHSAA’s preseason 3A football poll.
“Everyone is looking forward to these first two games, but more importantly is that Sept. 6 game against Harrison,” Meinert said. “They are a physical team. Getting the hype going early in the season is kind of cool.”
German said he is counting on his seniors for leadership to help bring along the young players who will also contribute this season.
“It’s going to be a cool atmosphere playing at the Big House (Jeffco Stadium),” German said of the Rams’ opener being their homecoming game Sept. 6 at Jeffco Stadium. “Our community is really getting behind us. Our numbers are up from last year and there is a lot of support and I’m proud of our community.”