The Glenbrook Apaches have reasons to be optimistic looking ahead to the 2016 football season.

They’re returning solid weapons from last year’s offense in quarterback Seth Tyler and receiver Joseph Windham. Players like Mason Hood, Da’maza Robinson and newcomer LeMoris Jackson Jr. are poised for breakout seasons. The defense should be improved with Seth Gauthier back to man the Mike linebacker spot, and most importantly to head coach Caleb Carmikle, numbers are up.

Those returnees and newcomers, coupled with a full offseason in the weight room and the currently-underway spring practices the Apaches are having could make all the difference for Glenbrook in District 6AA this season.

“We’re really excited to actually be able to have spring ball this year,” Carmikle said.

“Last year, I got their so late. Even in fall camp, we were still figuring out who our kids were. Now we’ve had a full offseason program. We’re bigger and stronger and you can tell a lot of the kids have really matured and it’s translating over to the practices.”

One of the surprises so far in spring practice has been the play of newcomers Joseph Kidd and Jackson.

“Joseph is a kid that was walking the halls,” Carmikle said. “You look at him and he’s built like a million bucks and he’s never lifted weights in his life. He works hard and flies to the ball on defense.”

Carmikle said Jackson could provide the explosive plays the offense seemed to lack at times last season.

“He’s definitely one of those guys you want to get the ball in his hands,” Carmikle said. “He’s got some shake.”

Things are running smoothly on the practice field; something that wasn’t always a foregone conclusion last season.

“The timing of my hiring last year couldn’t have been worse,” Carmikle said. “Now, we’ve been together everyday at school. There’s a huge difference in the culture, especially inside the lockerroom. These kids know what’s expected of them and the kind of pace and urgency we want to play with. We’re able to just line up and coach.”

One element missing from last year’s team was physicality across the board. The jury is still out on if this year’s team has that element.

“That’s the biggest thing I want to see,” Carmikle said. “Who’s going to compete, who wants to be physical and who really wants to be here.”

The Apaches travel to River Oaks Saturday for a four-team spring game.

Starting at 2 p.m., Glenbrook, River Oaks, Riverfield and Union Christian Academy will compete in a revolving door of a spring game, with teams rotating offense and defense every 12 plays throughout the afternoon.

“It’s a great chance for us to gauge where we sit,” Carmikle said. “There will be a lot of good football going on.”

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