The only question remaining is how far will the Eagles soar this season?
Coach Dave Svehla said that while it is true that Etowah has had more time to prepare for its season opener — Friday’s game at Lambert — than it will for any other game this season, he said it also had more work to do before this game than it will for any other.
“You don’t have a lot to go on in terms of what you are preparing for,” Svehla said. “You can look at film from last year. You can look at film from a scrimmage, if you are able to get it, but the preparation is a little bit difficult. There have to be some contingencies involved because you are not positive what the team is going to try to come out and do to you. So, you have more time, but you don’t have as much information.”
The best way to do that is make sure the players are fundamentally sound, and with a solid crop of returning players, the Eagles are headed in the right direction.
Third-year quarterback John Oliver will be beginning his final season with the team. He will be key if Etowah can avenge the 14-7 loss it suffered to Lambert last year at Eagle Stadium.
Led by former Sequoyah coach Sid Maxwell, Lambert’s program has only been around since 2009, but it’s already made great strides. Last year, the Longhorns won their first five games of the season before injuries caught up and they suffered five straight losses. Two of the losses were in overtime.
Svehla certainly isn’t taking Lambert lightly.
“They are a disciplined football team,” he said. “They don’t make many mistakes. They are going to play hard.”
Svehla feels the greatest challenge the Eagles will face won’t come from the other side of the line.
It will be from themselves.
“Last year, we were our own worst enemy,” Svehla said. “We made too many mistakes and it ended up costing us. I think the challenge for us is more about being a disciplined football team to ensure that our kids execute the plan as it has been implemented.”
Svehla, in his second season at Etowah, feels preparations are going according to his two-year plan.
“You are trying to make a transition for the players as smooth as you can make it,” he said. “We struggled with that a little bit last year, but I think we know our players better now, and they know us better. We have a better idea of what we can reasonably expect from them.”