Eagles take flight soon
By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia County Middle School Eagles football team had some success last year, finishing the year 5-1-1. The team did not lose a game after dropping a thriller in the opening game against Monroeville Middle.
Head coach Dale Jones said he has a good group of kids and that group includes 30 eighth graders.
"We have a very good group of kids this year," Jones said.
Jones said the standout of that group is the pack of players that he will have lineup on the offensive or defensive line.
"We have the most athletic, most complete group of offensive and defensive linemen at this school since I have been here and I have been here 10 years," he said. "They are the key to our success this year."
That group includes, Montez Curry, Dalvin Craft, Jamine Pettway, Clayton Stringer, La'Sean Treadwell, David Moore, Desmond Jones, Charles Elliard, Robert Poole, Ricky Maddox, Rakeem Phillips and Tyler Reeve. Their athleticism is so rare because they are all in the 200- to 275-pound range, Jones said.
As for who will play on which side of the ball, Jones will leave that up to the players.
"Whoever is the quickest, fastest and nastiest will be on the defensive side of the ball," he said.
The skill positions were a slight mystery to Jones at press time because the team has only had two weeks of practice and only a couple of those days involved contact drills.
One of the team's best receivers from last year, Rico Stallworth, will take over for the departed Kingston Craft and the running back position will be by committee in 2006.
"Last year we had Douglas Oliver and there was not question of who our running back was, but this year is a different story," Jones said. "We have some kids who are real fast, some that are real agile and some that can catch the ball well, but no clear running back."
The committee will include six players and Jones said he wants to find the best mix of those six during the games. Daimon Dailey is the only one of the six with any playing experience at running back.
This year's team did benefit from the generosity of the Escambia County High School football team coaching staff. Kyle Davis brought his crew to the Eagles' spring training and gave them a taste of how a high school practice is ran. Jones said this was great for his guys.
"It was good for these boys because they got some other coaching besides me and they found out that I was not the only one who was going to push them hard," he said.
The other positions are still to be determined through evaluation in practice. But Jones will receive some help with that evaluation from Calvin Richardson, who will work with the receivers primarily, and Elise McCreary, who will work with the linemen.
The coaching staff will have until Sept. 7 to finalize a starting roster because that is when ECMS opens the season at home against Monroeville at 6 p.m.