Ganders football see slow roster growth
Coach Tim Finn has begun a third season at the helm of the Robert E. Lee Ganders football program, and he may be on the verge of winning his first contest before the initial game even kicks off.
That’s because slowly and methodically, Finn is winning the numbers game as his program roster continues to move upward and the varsity lineup seems to be a bit, if not much, deeper than last fall.
“The numbers on the sideline aren’t going to look a whole lot better – because we have a small senior class – and we are trying to field a JV team that is competitive,” Finn said. “So, we will have 35 varsity-only guys on the sideline and have those JV guys ready if called upon. We hope to have about 4-5 more on the varsity and even a few on the varsity after school starts Tuesday.”
Finn said the program is at 90 players – 60 for the varsity workouts that combines both the JV with the regular squad and 30 for the freshmen.
He hopes starting Tuesday, the Ganders add 10 or 12 more freshmen and the overall program numbers will be at 100 when the teams open the schedule.
The varsity plays at Houston Westbury 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 to kick off the campaign.
“Last year we were probably at about 72 players,” Finn said. “The signs are definitely encouraging. We are fielding a team that can compete, not just fielding a team – and at all three levels. That’s what we are shooting for.”
So, the roster’s almost 40 percent increase is partially a byproduct of the team’s improved play going 4-6 and being just a few points from a Class 5A playoff spot.
“I would love to have 45 to 50 varsity-only guys and the same number on the JV,” Finn said. “We are closing in on that.”
Finn also hopes that potential Goose Creek CISD redistricting could help the school’s numbers and push the program even higher.
“All those things play into where the numbers will grow,” Finn said.
Senior offensive lineman Rashad Futchs believes the depth of numbers has made competition boom this preseason.
“It also makes it a lot easier because now you can substitute,” Futchs said. “When people get tired, they can tend to slack. Since there are more people to substitute there is less than that.
“We know we still have to work because the coach’s make it apparent that if we don’t, we could lose our job. Now that there are more people, you have to always work for it. I got first team last year and know I have to work more for it this year.”
Futchs said that the coaching staff has pushed urgency over complacency.
“The first week is much faster paced and physical than last year,” Futchs said. “You can see players working harder to get better.”