VILONIA EAGLES: Eagles ready to soar again
August 26, 2012
Last season the Vilonia Eagles finished with only four wins and no spot in the playoffs, but this year, head coach Jim Stanley said, spectators can expect to see “a totally different team.”
“We were a young team, but we tried hard and finished strong,” he said. “We are working to improve on that record. We are throwing the ball a lot better, blocking a lot better and, of course, working on the fundamentals. We just have to keep working hard and keep getting better.”
One thing that will help to change the dynamic of the team is a new quarterback. Senior Michael Adkinson, who was a three-year starter at wide receiver, will be stepping into the starting quarterback position for the first time this year.
“He is a really good ballplayer,” Stanley said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun watching him.”
Juniors Houston Cotton and Drew Estes will start this year at running back, and Stanley said they are both potential all-conference players. Junior Jon Alexander and senior Braylin Richardson will start at offensive guard.
Adkinson will also see some playing time on the defensive side of the ball at safety. Three-year returning starter Martin Reyes, who suffered a minor injury last season and missed a few games, will be back in action at linebacker.
“We are expecting a lot out of [Reyes] this year,” Stanley said.
Senior Jake Steward will also return at starting safety, along with junior Nathan Maxx at defensive tackle.
Stanley said he expects Adkinson, Reyes and Steward to be potential all-state players. Alexander, Cotton and Estes are likely to be chosen for all-conference, he said.
Aside from the potential all-state and all-conference talent, Stanley said, he believes the biggest strength his 45-member team has is an impeccable work ethic.
“I am really proud of my team,” he said. “They are working really hard, and I can see it has paid off; they have gotten a lot stronger.”
The team will start its season off against the Sylvan Hills Bears, which was a landslide win for the Eagles last year with a final score of 45-14.
“You’re always nervous before your first game,” Stanley said. “The team might look ready during practice, but you never know.”
The Eagles will finish regular-season play with an away game against Greenbrier, the team’s biggest rival. Last year’s matchup between the two turned out to be an impressive win for the team, with the Eagles beating Greenbrier 37-26.
“They’re going to be really good this year,” Stanley said. “We are going to have to work hard for another win.”