Greenfield football

Greenfield (3-7, 2-5)
 Three straight years of improvement in the win column shows progress for the Bruins. Granted it has been just one extra win a year. But it's a sign of going in the right direction.
 And with the Mission Trail Athletic League being divided into two divisions this fall, Greenfield is in a position to be competitive, with two of its three wins last fall coming within the division.
 "I'm a fan of the new equity league,'' Greenfield coach Ryan Bravo said. "For our kids, our team and program, it's where we need to be based on past performance and the number of kids we have.''
 The fact that Greenfield believes it can compete in its division has created more than hope. There is a sense of expectation surrounding a program that's struggled for five years.
 Bravo noticed a different attitude in the off-season and over the summer as the Bruins had a strong turnout in the weight room.
 "The kids are excited to play teams we feel we have a chance to compete against,'' Bravo said. "That hasn't always been the case in the past.''
 It won't hurt that the Bruins have a better grasp of the offensive system that was installed last season. The growing pains that went into learning it have disappeared.
 "The kids have bought into the system,'' Bravo said. "We've simplified it. We do a few things good and that's what we're going to work with."
 It won't be easy replacing Hector Ramirez, who rushed for nearly 1,500 yards last season, scoring 15 of the teams 19 rushing touchdowns.
 Still there are parts to play with, starting with multi-talented Rodrigo Frias, who showed flashes of his potential last year, rushing for three touchdowns while tossing five touchdown passes.
 Frias, who spent part of the season as the quarterback, could find himself spending more time in the slot this fall to take advantage of his speed.
 "He's going to get his hands on the ball,'' Bravo said.
 One reason Bravo feels comfortable with Frias in the slot is because of the emergence of 6-foot-2 Andy Hernandez behind center. The two spent the off-season platooning at quarterback.
 "We're running a spread offense,'' Bravo said.
 Hernandez has looked sharp in practice firing the ball downfield to the likes of Frias and Isaac Pajas, who was among the team leaders in receptions last year.
 Pajas is also the teams top returning tackler from last fall, having come up from his safety position. He'll have a new cast of characters surrounding him on defense.
 One familiar face, though, is linebacker William Enriquez, who finished among the team leaders in tackles.
 "We had good summer workouts,'' Enriquez said. "We have what it requires to be successful. It's not a talent issue. What we have to fix is the mental aspect of the game.''
 Enriquez, who will also see time as a bruising fullback, believes his team is capable of making a run at the programs first league title.
 "We can go beyond that,'' insisted Enriquez. "What we can't have is breakdowns in critical moments. Football is not a vibe. You make the vibe.''
 Greenfield actually scored first in six of its 10 games last year. The second quarter, however, was crippling, as it was outscored 116-35.
 "With our numbers, eight guys may go both ways this year,'' Bravo said. "Conditioning is big. The kids understand that. When you're tired, that's when mental mistakes occur.''
 Keeping games tight is critical for the Bruins, who are 4-2 over the last two years in games decided by four points or less.
 Seven years removed from setting a single-season school record nine wins, Greenfield hasn't been to the postseason since. That's not a pipe dream this season.

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