SALADO — Tyler Armstrong answers for everyone when asked how he and his Salado teammates remember last season.
“1-9,” Armstrong said.
For the junior-to-be quarterback and his teammates, the Eagles’ one-win record from last season is all that matters.
But the Eagles aren’t discouraged by what transpired last season, simply motivated by it.
“It inspires us to get better for next year,” rising senior Jace Habiger said.
Salado has no spring football, but that doesn’t mean the Eagles aren’t hard at work to ensure next season doesn’t go like the last.
On a rainy Monday afternoon, the Eagles bounced around the Salado gym, completing drills in stations as Mother Nature can’t be a reason to stop progressing.
Salado returns 11 starters next year, five on offense and six on defense, but loses key players including wide receiver Kase Spears and running back Ryan Simmons, who helped power the Eagles’ prolific offense last season.
Armstrong will move over from wide receiver to quarterback, where
he is expected to replace McLane Carter as the starter under center.
One of his primary targets will be rising senior Jacob Quick, a rangy, 6-foot-3 receiver with great hands and leaping ability.
With players like Quick back next season, Armstrong is confident the offense will find a way to replace the production of Spears and Simmons.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Armstrong said, “but hopefully, guys step up and we make it happen.”
Where the Eagles hope to see the most improvement, however, is on defense after allowing an average of 43.9 points per game last season.
Habiger, an outside linebacker and right tackle, is expected to help with that as the Eagles have put an emphasis on that side of the ball this offseason.
It also helps that head coach Brent Graham is in his second offseason with the Eagles after taking over last April.
The players said Graham is not only comfortable with throwing more at them but that his intensity in workouts has been a plus.
“It’s great,” Armstrong said. “It’s a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm to just win in everything we do.”
And heading into next season, the Eagles hope that will mean more winning on Friday nights when the fall rolls around.
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