To understand how Bob Gaddis changed the Columbus East football program, a look at the Olympians’ series against Greenwood would be in order.
The two schools battled in the regular- season opener for 15 consecutive years. with Greenwood winning six of the first seven games of that series.
Upon his arrival in Columbus, Gaddis saw his Olympians drop their first two meetings with the Woodmen in 2002 and 2003, and they have gone 8-0 since. The series ended after the 2011 season.
Tonight at 7, East hosts Greenwood in a different setting, the second round of the sectional playoffs. With the Class 4A Olympians ranked No. 1 with a 10-0 record and the Woodmen coming into the game at 5-5, it would appear to be a mismatch.
“Bob Gaddis and (assistant coach) Eddie Vogel have done a great job resurrecting that program,” said Greenwood head coach Mike Campbell, who is 0-7 against East. “Over the last 15 years, the series got one-sided as their school grew larger.”
Campbell knows that producing an upset is a tall order, but it’s possible.
“For us to have a chance, our entire defensive unit needs to play well,” he said. “We have to keep their eight-yard gains to eight-yarders and not turn into 80-yarders.
“But we do have a lot of three-year starters on this team, and they played Cathedral two years ago and Roncalli last year (both sectional losses), and a lot of good teams during the regular season, so they know what to expect. We are going to enjoy the moment and have fun out there.”
It won’t be much fun if the Woodmen can’t contain East tailback Markell Jones, who has rushed for 1,649 yards.
“He is a very solid back,” Campbell said. “The thing that stood out to us is his vision, making the right zone cuts at the right time.
“And their offensive line functions very well. They are very adept at their running schemes. It’s a physical group up front, and a good-sized line, but the thing that really stands out is how cohesive they are. They’re just a very skilled offensive overall, as skilled as any team that we’ve seen.”
Gaddis said Greenwood is a team that plays “physical, tough defense.”
“We’re familiar with them because we opened with them for years and they’ve had a lot of the same coaches for a long time,” Gaddis said. “Their basic philosophy hasn’t changed.
“They run what you would call a finesse veer. They run both the triple option and power out of it. And they have good size and speed.”
Greenwood quarterback Tanner Skeel runs the offense, and he has rushed for 777 yards and five touchdowns, along with the occasional pass that has accounted for 618 passing yards and four touchdowns.
John Gallman is the Woodmen’s leading rusher with 1,067 yards and 15 touchdowns.