Dalviness Greene has been turning heads on the football field at Westover since the first day as a freshman, where he started soon after he arrives and has been improving ever since. Last season, Greene led the Patriots with 1,021 yards and 10 touchdowns, despite getting hurt and missing a good chunk of time. But Greene is back and healthy this season and ready to make his senior year one to remember.
Getting to know Dalviness Greene: The Dynamite Half-Dozen Q and A
Here are a half-dozen questions for our Dynamite Dozen players about their likes off the football field:
Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: “Burger King hamburgers. They make the best hamburgers in the world.’’
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “Friday Night Lights. I love to see Booby Miles run.’’
Q: Who is your favorite entertainer (movie star, comedian, singer etc)?
A: “Keith Sweat.’’
Q: Who is your favorite NFL player?
A: “Reggie Bush. When I was in middle school he was a beast at USC and I used to try to imitate his moves.’’
Q: If you were stranded on an island, who would you want to be with you?
A: “(Model) Amber Rose.”
Q: Who is the person you owe everything to?
A: “My mother, Felicia Porter. I give it all to my mother. She’s the No. 1 lady in my life.’’
For Dalviness Greene, it isn’t just about making the cut, the quick move to dart by a defender.
It isn’t just about breaking a tackle, or pushing and grinding and digging for that extra yard. It isn’t just about reaching the end zone.
He wants more — so much more.
Greene, a tailback and Herald Dynamite Dozen selection, wants to make a run at history and break a few stereotypes about Westover football along the way.
“He wants to leave his footprint in this team’s football program,’’ said Westover coach Octavia Jones, who is trying to change the culture at Westover, where the football program has had only four winning seasons in more than 40 years on the gridiron.
Jones, who is in his third year as the head coach of the Patriots, wants to change all that. And he has a running back who not only believes it can happen but wants to be a big reason it does happen.
Greene, who goes by his middle name, Deion, wants to run to daylight all season so he can walk away as part of a legacy.
Nothing comes as hard as change, and that’s why Greene runs so hard.
“I’ve been thinking about this since I got here in ninth grade and thinking a lot about it since last year,’’ Greene said Wednesday. “I want to be the team to win a region title at Westover. I want that feeling. It will be the first time it’s ever been done. We will be the first to leave a mark, to be the foundation for all the rest of the teams at Westover for how it all started.’’
That’s priceless for Greene.
“I have been thinking about it since ninth grade, but now it’s my senior year, and the hunger is even more,’’ he said. “It’s indescribable. The tension is very high. That’s why I tell my teammates, ‘You have to go hard. Anything you do, do it at full throttle. Keep your energy up all the time.’ ”
“The kids look up to him and feed off him,’’ Jones said. “He would rather see the team do well than be the No. 1 rusher. He stresses that to the other guys that it’s about the team.’’
But Greene doesn’t just talk a good game, he plays one.
“He goes 100 percent all the time,’’ said senior Josh Burton, who starts on both sides of the line. “He’s a good leader, just the way he handles himself as a person, and the way he works so hard. He inspires me to work harder. He inspires a lot of players to hustle and give it their best.’’
Burton said Greene gets on to players for not hustling and pushes everyone to be better.
“He makes (the offensive line) want to block for him,’’ Burton said. “We know he is going to get the job done, and that’s why we love blocking for him.’’
Greene just wants to win, and that’s why he pushes so hard.
The Pats came close to pulling off a winning season a year ago when Greene stormed out of the gate, gaining more than 400 yards during the first two games as Westover jumped out to a 2-0 start. Everything pointed to a winning season and a possible berth in the playoffs, but the Patriots then lost five games, including an overtime loss to Bainbridge, by a total of 20 points and finished 4-6.
Greene suffered a hamstring injury along the way and sat out most of the final three games — all losses — and finished with 1,021 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The plan this season is to use Greene more judiciously to keep him fresh.
“Last year, when he started out, I thought he was going to rush for 1,500 or 1,600 yards,’’ Jones said. “But all of those carries he got wore his body down. This year we’ve got other guys to carry the load so that doesn’t happen. Last year, he had some games when he carried the ball 25 times. We’re not going to do that this year. We’re still going to give him the ball in crunch time, but we want him to be fresh when the playoffs get here. I still think he will gain over 1,000 yards this year.’’
That’s the plan, and Greene believes in it. He’s not worried about how many touches he gets or how many yards he racks up.
He’s running toward a different goal.
“Deion would rather see the team do well than be the No. 1 rusher,’’ Jones said. “He stresses that to the other guys that it’s about the team. ... He wants to be part of the class that gets us over the hump.’’
Greene has gained 206 yards in two games so far, averaging 5.69 yards per carry. He has also caught five passes for 33 yards and has run back three kicks for 50 yards. Greene was off to a great start last week against state-ranked Jonesboro, gaining 78 yards in the first half and helping Westover build a 12-8 lead. But Jonesboro took over in the second half and beat the Patriots 34-12.
Now Greene and The Herald No. 5 Patriots want to bounce back. They’re 1-1 going into this Friday’s game against No. 3 Lee County (2-0), which has scored 101 points in wins against Dougherty and Albany. It could be a high-scoring game, and Greene could have a big night.
“It doesn’t matter how many yards I get as long as we win,’’ Greene said.
Greene bleeds Westover red and blue.
He was a star at Merry Acres Middle School, which is Westover’s big feeder program, and still talks about winning the city title against Dougherty when he was an eighth-grader.
“The play I remember from middle school is the run I made against Dougherty in the championship game,’’ Greene said. “We were at the 20 and ran a sweep, and I got past two tacklers and then this guy grabs me and I bounced off him and went 80 yards. I was so tired. I scored three touchdowns and we beat them.’’
The play they still talk about at Westover came last year against Albany High when Greene made a highlight-film run for the ages, complete with a dramatic ending.
He started on the left, broke free and then juked his way past a defender until he found himself in the open field with Albany tacklers all around him.
“I heard (QB) T.J. (Wester) calling me,’’ began Greene, “he was calling me, and I went the other way.’’
Greene cut back and went the width of the field before heading into the end zone for a 76-yard zig-zagging run. And when he got to the right corner of the end zone he just couldn’t resist putting a little the icing on the cake, leaping in for the score.
“I flipped into the end zone,’’ said Greene, who went sky-high to the delight of the crowd and to the dismay of his coach. “I got two weeks on the punishment list for it. Coach said I got a week for every revolution I did. That was the end of my flips.’’
Even without the flips, Greene has put up impressive numbers at Westover, where he started as a freshman and led the team with 653 yards rushing, then 850 yards as a sophomore.
The Patriots got a lot more than just a good ball carrier when Greene arrived.
“His dedication to the game is what makes him special,’’ Jones said. “I’ve seen him mature. He has gotten more serious about his future. I think he has the opportunity to continue his football career. I hope he has a good year.
“’He has worked hard this season, coming back from his injury he had last year. He’s a good kid. I’ve seen him grow so much. The kids really look up to him.’’
The hamstring injury hurt Greene and the Patriots, who were never the same down the stretch without him.
“It was heartbreaking not being able to be out there with my team, knowing we could have won those games,’’ Greene said. “It haunted me, just thinking about if I could have done this, or if I could have done that we would have won those games. We could have been in the playoffs.
“It haunted me for a long time, but after three or four weeks after the season was over, I had to let it go. After that, I just used it to be my motivation to get back on the field this year. I see now that when you get injured, you have to work extra hard to get back. When I got back on the field for the first game this year, I was so happy I don’t even know how to describe it.’’
He didn’t come back for the yards. Greene, who has had just 35 carries in two games, came back to win.
“He never complains,’’ Burton said. “He’s not worried about gaining yards, he’s just going to give it everything he has, no matter what, all the time. That’s why he is who he is. He’s going to get however many yards he needs to get. However many yards the team needs to get, that’s what he will get.’’
Greene just hopes it will be enough to carry Westover over the top. And most of all, change the direction of the program.
“For us to win the region and get to the playoffs, it would be the biggest thing in the world for me,’’ Greene said. “I’d be on top of the world. We would be the first. They would be talking about us winning the region for two or three years. I’ll be talking about it the rest of my life. I’ll be telling my grandkids about it.’’