The Eagles graduated nearly a dozen linemen and need some young players to step into the trenches. The teams is coming off a season in which it went 4-6 and missed the state playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Coach Dave Svehla said the line is Etowah’s center of need as fall approaches.
“There is no question,” he said. “No doubt, that is what we need. We will get there. We just don’t have a lot of experience.”
Among the losses are the entire starting offensive line.
“As a result, we have to have some kids that don’t have a lot of varsity experience step up and get themselves ready to play and is our job as coaches to get them ready,” said Svehla, entering his second season at the helm. “It’s hard to do that in two weeks, so summer will be important for us.”
The program brought in a class of 50 rising freshmen who will make up the freshman team. Svehla said one of his goals is to carry over as many of those freshmen as he can into their sophomore season a year from now.
“That is something I would like to see us do a better job of in the future — keeping those guys out as they transition from their freshmen to their sophomore year,” Svehla said.
Etowah has just 65 players out for the team who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors next season. That means carrying over between 20 and 25 players per class.
“We are working hard,” Svehla said. “We are trying to work a lot of young kids in and trying to see which ones are going to put themselves in the position to step up and play varsity football. We are going to put them in the fire and see how they respond.”
On the positive side, Etowah returns a lot of its skill players, including running back Brandon Engle and quarterbacks John Oliver and Robbie Knox.
Meanwhile, other players have been a good impression during the first week of spring practice. Among them are outside linebacker Keith Gordon, defensive back Cory Burdett and running back Raishod Devezin.
“We have had some guys do some impressive things so far,” Svehla said. “We are looking forward to seeing more of that.”
Etowah will hold its spring game Friday at 7 p.m.