Coming off of a 20-game losing streak, it's safe to say the Rosepine Eagles have made some needed changes. That starts with a familiar face returning to the sidelines in head coach, Johnny Cryer.
"The summer has been tremendous. Probably the best summer I've been a part of in my 30 years of coaching," admitted Cryer. "These kids are hungry and ready to go to work.
"We've got a new coach," said Rosepine linebacker/fullback Dalton McCallon. "It's just a new look."
"We've gone through rebuilding years in the past. Beginning of my freshman year losing a bunch of big-name guys and with the new coach it's a really big development period for us turning the new system learning the routine and everything," Eagle guard and linebacker Maison Roberts said. "But the new coach isn't going to determine the outcome of our season. We are."
With the return of 18 starters, the Eagles bring back a vast amount of experience. It's a big reason why we listed Rosepine as our top surprise team in the area.
"We have a good group coming back. They had a lot of playing time last year. It didn't turn out too well for them, but at least we got the experience part whipped," Cryer said. "Hopefully with a new system coming in, these kids are eager to learn and ready to play and we can get things turned around."
"Being 1-30 for the past few years, it's hard to go through, but it's not for the weak-hearted," added Roberts. "It takes a lot of heart and a lot of pride in the program to come out here and do what we do after going through four years of a strict, hard unwilling schedule."
Quarterback Seth Ducote, 1,000-yard rusher Seth Shirley and 300-pound offensive tackle Wesley Willis are all returning starters. The offense will be the Eagles' bread and butter.
"Shirley is a warrior. He's battle tested. He's a great running back and the good thing about Seth is he is just a junior so I've got two years to work with him. And what we're doing offensively he ought to flourish," Cryer said of his offense. "We're gonna run behind Wesley. Wesley's going to be a D1 recruit."
As Cryer makes his fourth stop at Rosepine, he hopes it'll be the last of his impressive career.
"This is home to me, this is my last stop I want to make," said Cryer. "The programs been struggling the past couple years and it's a great opportunity for me to come back and try to get everything going back to where it was."
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