ROCKFORD-Guilford is generally known for it's speedy skill players. But the identity of this Guilford team is the 'bigs' in the trenches. The Vikings return four starters on the offensive line. That unit averages 6-2, 265 pounds. The biggest is 295 pound Tyler Wilke. 240 pound all-conference guard Tyshonn Woodard might be the best of the bunch.
So will the Vikings just line up and try to run over people?
"Yes," chuckles guard Tyshonn Woodard.
"They're big and burly, and they get after it," says head coach Mel Gilfillan. "We're going to run the ball hard and go right at people."
The scary part is the Vikings do have talent and athleticism at the skill positions to go with those linemen starting with returning quarterback Nino Musso. He passed for 13 hundred yards last year, the second most yardage in Guilford history.
"We're looking for a lot more out of him," says Gilfillan. "He's also a big, strong kid, so we think the sky is the limit for him."
"I just go out there and play and try to do as much as I can to try and help our team win," says Musso. "Coming off last season we have a lot of confidence coming back into this season. We lost a lot of seniors, but we have a strong junior corps that's been coming up and playing with us."
One underclassmen to keep an eye on is sophomore running back Jamaris Williams. Gilfillan is also high on junior Damonte Reed. "He was an all-conference track kid, so they can both go."
Will Sheely and Deep Patel lead the receivers. The Vikings will move the ball. The key to their season could be on the defensive side where they have only two returning starters. But one of those returners is Woodard at linebacker. Gifillan says he's a Division One caliber player.
"I don't know if we've ever had a more physically gifted athlete ever here. He's our strongest kid, and he's also one of our fastest kids."
It's possible this team could be better than last year's team that went 7-3.
"I believe we can be wherever we want to be as long as we put the work into it and not just think that we had a 7-3 season last year we're going to do the same thing this year," says Woodard.