When Leander cut a 42-point lead in half in less than one quarter Saturday, Ellison turned to a unit disappointed with its performance a season ago and ready to make that a distant memory.
And senior Darrell Peterkine and the Eagle offensive line did just that, with Peterkine rushing for 57 yards and Jaira Baker and Terry Gillespie adding scores on the ground to seal the season-opening victory for Ellison.
“Last season, our run game wasn’t as strong as we wanted it to be,” senior center Gavin Adkins. “So, we worked a lot on that this offseason and beginning of the year.
“As you saw, 21 points, we decided to come together as an offense and say that’s enough, it needs to stop.”
Ellison (1-0) did just that Saturday and now will look to continue to build on that when it hosts Round Rock Stony Point (0-1) at 7 tonight at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Peterkine was happy to be a part of the turnaround and earned praise from Eagle head coach Trent Gregory
this past offseason.
But Peterkine was more happy to be a boon for his teammates than any of his personal success.
“It’s not really for me, it’s for my teammates and my family,” Peterkine said. “And I’ve been working hard for my family and my teammates. That’s all I really care for is my teammates.”
Gregory has also been pleased with the Eagle offensive line, which he turned over control this season to lead offensive line coach Todd Polvado and assistant Mike Kenjura.
Polvado joined from Palacios this season, and Kenjura — a first-year assistant last year — said the line hasn’t missed a beat.
Quarterback Carl Robinson III and Jayden Smith dominated the first half against Leander on Saturday, and the line was a big reason, with Robinson only getting sacked once in the game.
And the linemen don’t mind the skill players getting the recognition.
“We always tell them that offensive line is a selfless position,” Kenjura said. “The reason the skill kids get their names in the paper will be if we give them the time. So, we take pride in them getting recognition.”
But privately, Ellison has been very pleased with its linemen, starting with Adkins.
“Also, Alexander Buber, he is the hardest working, most aggressive kid,” Polvado said. “You won’t see that kid go half speed on a play.”
Polvado and Kenjura also praised senior Forrestor Polk — a “quiet leader by example,” Polvado said — junior Fiatala Mata’utia, junior Keith Jackson and senior Jaron Sancho.
Yet as impressive as Peterkine and the Eagle offensive line looked Saturday, they were hardly satisfied with the performance.
Because this season, only one goal will satisfy that side of the ball.
“We’re always pursuing perfection,” Polvado said. “If we have five seconds to throw the ball we want 10 seconds.”