Eagles ready for season

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 7, 2015

If this summer’s practice for the Goshen Eagles is any indicator for how well the season is going to go, Eagles head coach Bart Snyder said he is eager to get his team out under the Friday night lights.

The Eagles lost several seniors to graduation in 2015, including standout player Tyler Phillips, but Snyder said their shoes have easily been filled with senior leaders stepping up to take their places.

“Kendrez White will be playing quarterback for us,” Snyder said. “He played quarterback for us last year and did a great job. Travis Cumbest is doing a good job on the line this year, as well as Shebly Styron. Caleb Spear will be playing wide out and we’re expecting him to do some big things. Azonte Rodgers will be back and we’re expecting good things of him this year. Chase Gray plays well on the line, and we’re expecting some good things out of Skyler Walker. He really works hard. AJ Valentine, we’re expecting some good thing out of him at receiver and line backer

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“Keenan Calhoun, he is a receiver for us as well. Braxton Stewart, Jody Danner and Derrick Nelson have also stepped up for us this summer.”

Snyder said the team has been working on being fundamentally sound for the start of the season, which will give them an edge over their opponents.

“We’ve really just been working on getting ourselves where we’re supposed to be and just making sure we’re sound on what we’re supposed to do,” Snyder said. “We’re getting the guys to learn how to play assignment football and making a habit to play their positions on everything. If we can do that, we feel like we’ll be ahead of ourselves when we get out there in full pads.”

Snyder said the team had yet to practice in full pads this summer.

“We’ve done helmets and shoulder pads this summer, but we’re trying to keep them cooler,” Snyder said. “We might be able to go to full pads tomorrow, but we’re going to do pictures and stuff tomorrow. We have contact rules and everything so that is what we have to follow those rules. We’re going to follow the rules and not take a chance with the safety of one of our athletes.”

In the meantime, Snyder said work focuses on position and blocking drills.

“We’ve been working on routes, making sure we are in the right places for blocks,” Snyder said. “Contact is tackling someone to the ground or blocking somebody and we don’t have to do that to get better. As small in number as we are, that isn’t something we want to be doing. If you start tackling too early, you can knock someone out and injure them and they won’t be prepared for Friday night football. That’s what we’re working for every day, Friday nights.”

The football team as well as other fall sports will host a “Meet the Eagles” night today starting at 6 p.m. in the Goshen Annex in downtown Goshen to meet their booster club members, tell them thank you for their support and eat ballgame-themed foods.

“This is really a booster club event inviting the parents and all athletes to come out to the Goshen Annex for hot dogs and hamburgers, so that parents and players can meet the booster club,” Snyder said. “There aren’t going to be any call outs or anything tomorrow night for the athletes, but the players will be able to tell the booster club members thank you.”