Eagleville looks to build on 2019 success

Eagleville senior Wyatt McLemore (44) will be a leader on offense at running back and on defense at linebacker. FILE

Eagleville exceeded expectations a season ago which only leads for bigger and better things in 2020.

Head coach Floyd Walker has a well-seasoned team of players that have played quality minutes amidst battling late-season injuries in 2019.

“We had a lot of young kids play in big time games for us last year, which always helps us when they get older and have experienced that atmosphere,” Walker said.

The Eagles biggest loss from the 2019 class was All-State wide receiver/safety Trevor Griffin, who was Main Street Preps’ 2018 Defensive Player of the Year. He set the school's single-season and career interceptions record of nine and 17, respectively.

Nonetheless, the Eagles offense should produce enough points to keep opponents down. After a surprise sophomore campaign, quarterback Marcus Collins is primed for another go with his top targets, which are a strength of the offense.

OFFENSE

Collins passed for nearly 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first season under center last season. The signal caller rushed for over 300 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground.

“We knew how athletic he was and we had seen the kid play at our middle school, so we understood the type of player we were getting,” Walker said. “He threw the ball better than we anticipated, which forces defenses to defend sideline-to-sideline and opens up the run game.”

Opening up the run game will only cause greater distress on defenses with Wyatt McLemore in the backfield. Fresh off a wrestling state championship, McLemore returns at full health after fighting nagging injuries to be the work horse at running back.

Juniors Payton Lane, Dylan Pratt and sophomore Kaden Snitzer return at wide out. Lane started all 12 game in 2019 and is the leading receiver returning from that group.

Eagleville’s strongest unit is the size and experience of the offensive line. Senior Damian Stingley will be tough to miss with his large frame at center. Senior Mason Russell will play guard opposite of sophomore Paxtin Stingley. At tackle is two-year starter Elisha Hockett and sophomore Jacob Mullins.

“(Damian Stingley and Mason Russell) have played in a lot of games over the years,” Walker said. “I know our line is in great shape because of the experience they have, but I look to my leaders to push this group.”

DEFENSE

Smaller school classifications always require more from a smaller pool of players, and Eagleville is no exception.

Familiar faces will play both ways starting with the offensive line. Stingley and Hockett will play the defensive line with senior Oscar Guerra. Anticipate more bodies getting work in the trenches because of the Eagles’ line depth.

Outside linebackers Stingley and Lane will provide great speed at containing the edge. The inside linebackers will be the most experienced group with McLemore and junior Donovin Darnell.

“(McLemore) is never a hard kid to find because he is always where he is supposed to be and he plays with passion because he loves the game,” Walker said. “Darnell started every game last year and I expected a lot out of him.”

Walker said because of depth at linebacker it can lessen the load on some the two-way players. Some names to look out for include junior Erik Johnson, sophomore Kolton Daniels and freshman Kaleb Caywood.

Walker will put a group of players that gives him the best chance to win and placing his quarterback out in the defensive backfield gives his team just that.

“He just loves the game and he is comfortable out there,” Walker said. “It would be a disservice to (Collins) if I sidelined him knowing how well he plays the position.”

Senior Rylan Randall and junior Dylan Pratt will also patrol the secondary, but Eagleville is still searching for another defensive back.

PROJECTED STARTERS

OFFENSE

QB: Marcus Collins, Jr.

RB: Wyatt McLemore, Sr.

WR: Payton Lane, Jr.; Dylan Pratt, Jr; Kaden Snitzer, Soph.

TE: Donovin Darnell, Jr.; Kolton Daniels, Soph.

OL: Elisha Hockett, Jr.; Mason Russell, Sr.; Damian Stingley, Sr.; Paxtin Stingley, Soph.; Jacob Mullins, Soph.

DEFENSE

DL: Oscar Guerra, Sr.; Paxtin Stingley, Soph.; Elisha Hockett, Jr.

OLB: Damian Stingley, Sr.; Payton Lane, Jr.

LB: Wyatt McLemore, Sr.; Donovin Darnell, Jr.

DB: Marcus Collins, Jr.; Rylan Randall, Sr.; Dylan Pratt, Jr.; Brody McLemore, Fr.

2020 SCHEDULE

8/21: Huntland

8/28: at Cornersville

9/4: at Forrest

9/11: Pickett County

9/18: Community

9/25: Moore County

10/2: Lewis County

10/9: OPEN

10/16: at Summertown

10/23: Mt. Pleasant

10/30: at Loretto

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