Friday Preview: Eagles focused on getting back on track at Wheatmore
East Davidson may have suffered a heartbreaking loss to rival Ledford last week, but the upbeat Golden Eagles have not let it show this week at practice.
They remain a hungry football team at 3-1, and Friday's game at Wheatmore could potentially be a repeat of wins in Weeks 1-3. The Warriors remain winless, making this one of those nonconference trap games that can bite a team if not fully focused and prepared.
“Not that losing to Ledford is ever a good thing, but it does help us focus more on Wheatmore,” said EDHS head coach Vance Hanner. “I would be scared to death right now if we were 4-0, trying to keep the kids from having a big head going into the Wheatmore game. It is a team where if we go out there and do not execute on offense and turn the ball over, they have a shot at beating us. If we do our job then we will be fine.”
Hanner came into his first season at the helm wanting balance on offense. He has stuck to that plan all the way. East quarterback Austin Wallace has passed for 461 yards and five touchdowns, while the ground game consisting of mainly Bryce Bolen (290 yards) and Michael Ramos (266 yards) has compiled 834 yards on 156 carries. East has 10 touchdowns as a team on the ground.
A senior filled defense appears to be the pulse of the team. While the offense has been good in past years, the defense had been giving up too many points. That has not been an issue so far with an average of 9.3 points surrendered. Nathan Campbell and Toby Craven continue to make big hits at linebacker, and Gage Love has been roaming the secondary picking off two passes and recovering a fumble. The line is staying fresh, allowing for more push up front to disrupt the opposing offense.
Wheatmore trails 4-0 in the series after last seasons 27-10 result. Records would suggest the Warriors will have a tough time getting a breakthrough win. They score just 8.5 points per game and give up 34.8. Hanner still sees plenty to be concerned with.
“They do some different things we have not seen before,” he said. “They run a stack defense and like to blitz a lot. That is something we have not seen. Offensively they run a little option and we will need to talk about our defensive responsibilities. They have some weapons.”
Staying healthy is important for the Golden Eagles. With not as many bodies on the sideline as other teams, East must be full strength in numbers. So far they have avoided the injury bug.
“We are very fortunate at this point,” said Hanner. “There have not been many injuries other than a couple of concussions early, but we have worked through that.”
Game time is 7:30 p.m. in Trinity.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.