This season’s football team possesses a different look than previous aerial teams, transforming itself into a physical force. The Eagles proved that they are a tenacious and strong team crushing their first two opponents by a combined score of 84-7. Thanks to an increase of size and talent on the offensive and defensive lines, the team hopes to control the trenches and continue dominating teams on both sides of the ball.
With the new season came a new defensive coordinator, Matt Allard, and a new defensive front. The previous and most basic defensive set-up called for a 4-3 defensive formation (four linemen and three linebackers). Coach Allard, however, has altered the Eagles’ defensive strategy to a 5-2, which has proven to better utilize their defensive talent.
“The 5-2 has the potential to be amazing if run properly,” captain senior Tyler Stout said. “Plus [we have a] solid defense controlled by two returning linebackers, [senior] Jason [Lopez] and myself that possess the capability to hold teams down under any circumstances.”
The Eagles can afford to try the 5-2 formation thanks to the size and talent of the defense line, which many players agree is the strongest part of the team.
“Some of our strengths are our linemen and the size that we have there … we have more linemen to fill those three [interior lineman] roles to switch to a 5-2,” head coach Bill Waggoner said. “We think we have two of the best linebackers in the league, so with five guys in the defensive front, it gives them more room to make tackles.”
Players agree that the new formation is effective.
“Our D-Line is going to make problems for sure, with Nolan O’Such and Aaron Tolliver as tackles, me as the nose guard, and ends Abel Kinard and Daniel Eaton,” senior Daniel Tangi said. “I can’t wait to see what happens in our season.”
The defensive system lived up to the hype in the first two games, not allowing any points and even scoring some of their own. In the season opener, a 57-7 victory against Mills High School, the defense forced a safety and Jason returned an interception 45-yards for a touchdown. The next week against Woodside High School, the team forced 4 fumbles and had 5 sacks.
The physicality and strength present on defense also extends to the offensive line and running game the Eagles possess, as evident by the 196 ypg average,
“We bring back another physical line on both offense and defense,” Tyler said. “With returning players Nolan, Aaron and Jacob, we [have] a physical offensive line to compliment our backfield.”
The line has also done a solid job protecting sophomore quarterback Steven McLean, who has gone 12-21 for 226 yards 5 TDs; 4 in the last game.
Although the team hopes to utilize the strong lines this year, the team also look forward to, literally, growing together.
“The fact that three of our five starting offensive linemen are juniors, and one is a sophomore, we are going to dominate teams this year and years to come on the line,” junior Bobby Andris said.
However, in the near future, only one thought is dominating all of the football players’ thoughts.
“There is one game I really care about this season and that’s Mountain View,” Daniel said. “I want revenge, end of story.”