The Warner Eagles didn't have any problem with District A-8 last season — they went 6-0. But coach Mike Burge isn't the least bit interested in last season.
Starting quarterback for this year's squad will be sophomore Bobby Ward. In the team's first scrimmage, Burge was impressed.
“He's got some things down. He threw the ball well,” Burge said.
The Eagles scrimmaged Canadian on Aug. 23, and the first team offense ran 24 plays.
Warner boasted the best defense in the district last season, allowing 12 points per game. Burger said there is some work needed on defense, though the effort is good.
Burger said the toughest games on the schedule are toward the end of the year. The team will have a chance to get the wrinkles ironed out with their nondistrict games.
CHANGING THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE
Afton's season didn't start out the way it planned last year. Despite finishing second in the district, coach Zach Gardner knows the importance of opening the season on the right foot.
“We're going to find out how good we are in week one,” Gardner said.
The Eagles return most of their skill position players, which Gardner calls a plus. But he quickly mentioned the guys who don't get mentioned enough.
“We got to replace the line of scrimmage, the guys that get you the wins.”
Afton's key matchup comes with a week 4 meeting with Fairland. Last year, Afton beat Fairland to seal home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Gardner expects this game to be meaningful again.
PASS, PASS AND PASS SOME MORE
Summit Christian made the playoffs last season riding a four-game losing streak. Veteran coach Ron Davis said the team was fortunate to win its first six games of the season but also said the games they lost were not all by that much.
This year, the experience of Cameron Gilbert at quarterback and Jeremy Pelotte at wide receiver will help Summit. Davis says they are one of the best combos in the state.
“Jeremy is just a really good route runner and has really good hands. Gilbert got the chance to play early, and that helped a lot,” Davis said.
The 38-year head coach said he has seven or eight wide receivers that can play. The Eagles will use all of them to try and outscore opponents this season. Summit Christian will try to improve an offense that scored at least 57 points three times and averaged 35 points per game for the season.
Afton received a first place vote from all the coaches in A-8. Austin Martin of Fairland, Otis Crane of Foyil and Wade Auld of Liberty are all first-year head coaches.
District A-8 Coaches' Poll
Summit Christian (6-5)
*Last Season's Record in Parenthesis