EAGLEVILLE -- A new era begins as Floyd Walker leads a team of new faces for his fourth season as the head coach of the Eagles.
His biggest challenge of the 2019 season is replacing a plethora of seniors, 18 in total, including two-time Mr. Football semifinalist quarterback Ethan Cobb.
“We will have a lot of new guys getting the opportunity to play, and those that have played we will see in different positions,” Walker said.
Eagleville will be placed in a unique position on both sides of the ball, calling on significant amount of minutes from team leaders, which is much to be expected from the 2A school.
The largest gap to fill for the Eagles offense will be replacing Cobb at quarterback. He contributed 32 total touchdowns a season ago.
Walker has narrowed the battle down to three players (Marcus Collins, Rylan Randall and Andy Jones) but with no clear-cut decision in sight.
“We need to get in pads and really see what we have," he said. "At this stage, we have had 7-on-7s, but no one has created separation to this point.”
Eagleville will return receiver Trevor Griffin for his final campaign. The senior creates problems for defenses with his size and athleticism, along with his ability to play wide or slot. Junior Wyatt McLemore heads a running back group for a run-first designed offense.
“Griffin and McLemore will be our two best players on the offensive side, "Walker said. "McLemore will get a bulk of the carries and we will find creative ways to get (Griffin) the ball, but we will certainly see new faces get the opportunities in the backfield and wide out.”
Those faces at running back include senior Riverdale transfer Ethan Strickland, sophomore Donovan Darnell and freshman Kolton Daniels. Junior Payton Lane adds depth at the receiver position, having played all 11 games in 2018 from the slot position.
The offensive line returns the most experience of any offensive unit in senior Mason Lewis, junior Damien Stingley and sophomore Elisha Hockett. Juniors Damien Stingley, Mason Russell and Oscar Guerra add depth to the line. Stingley will provide the most experience of the group.
Eagleville’s secondary provides the most problem for opposing teams in 2019.
All-State defensive back Trevor Griffin, the Murfreesboro Post’s Defensive MVP a season ago with a school single-season record nine interceptions, has the responsibility of leading the veteran group that returns three of the four starters. Seniors Sebastion Parrott and Logan McKee return as starters from a season ago, and sophomore Marcus Collins will get his chance in the secondary.
“(Collins) played last year and was ready to start last year but sat behind seniors,” Walker said. “We have athletes that can make plays (in the secondary) and they have experience from last year.”
McLemore returns the majority of snaps from a season ago at linebacker. Fellow juniors Payton Lane and Guerra will receive playing time at linebacker.
Walker will call upon his offensive line to pull double-duty in the trenches with Lewis, Stingley and Hockett.
"That is what you have to work with at this level," he said. "We have guys that can play both ways, but we have some depth there for other kids to get the opportunity at some playing time.”
2018 record: 7-4
Head coach: Floyd Walker
Assistant coaches:Tom Fiveash, Isaac Haley, Kent Pippenger, Alex Robins, Billy Spann
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Trevor Griffin, Sr., DB/WR; Wyatt McLemore, Jr., LB/RB;Damien Stingley, Jr., DL/OL
8/23: at Huntland
9/13: at Pickett County
9/20: at Community
9/27: at Moore County
10/4: at Lewis County
10/25: at Mt. Pleasant