The entire backfield for Ridgway Christian — which led the Eagles to a undefeated season and an AACS state championship — left the team due to various reasons, leaving Ridgway with the near impossible task of trying to replace its skilled positions.
“We lost six,” Ridgway head coach Trent Young said. “One graduated, five moved off.
“We lost some good kids. We have some carryover from last year, but as far as the skilled positions, I’m missing a quarterback, fullback, halfback and tight end.
“But we have people trying to fill in.”
Therefore, the challenge for the Eagles this season will be trying to find who can “step up and fill that void.”
“There are some positions that are open,” Young said. “I want to see how people step up and fill those positions.”
One in particular who moves to an unfamiliar position is Ezra Tole. He will be competing for the quarterback slot after being a lineman last season.
“He’s progressing and coming a lot,” Young said.
One main positive for the Eagles is that its entire offensive line has returned.
“We are working on the option and see if they can do that and read it,” Young said. “… It is kind of slow coming at times and then at other times, they show a little bit of progress.”
Young also challenged his team to be the “best conditioned team in the state.”
“And I have seen a lot of improvement in that area as well,” Young said.
Ridgway has to rely on its conditioning since almost everyone plays both ways.
“We will continue to condition, lift weights and run,” Young said.
Young despite everything, he is still proud of what he has seen so far.
“They have worked hard all summer,” Young said. “They have gotten stronger since last year and some of them have gotten quicker.
“… They are doing a pretty good job.”
Ridgway will compete in a jamboree on Aug. 19 at the Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock. Young said he hopes to see the fundamentals improve.
“Fundamental tackling and blocking,” Young said. “Those two things have got to get better.”
One thing that has been beneficial for the Eagles in the early goings has been the donated football sled.
“Watson Chapel was gracious enough to give it to us,” Young said. “They weren’t using it.
“… That is making a difference. We hit it every day.”
Young said the sled has already made a difference.
“And we have only had it for three practices,” Young said.