By Evan Ren
Killeen Daily Herald
It isn't satisfactory, not by a long shot, and Ellison football coach Bret Boyd will be the first to admit it.
But through two games and two losses, there still isn't much room for criticism.
Yes, I realize there are those who will beg to differ. But the 0-2 start, including Thursday's 45-28 Ellison loss to Shoemaker is only natural, and here's why:
Of 11 offensive starters fielded by the Eagles against SHS, only three are seniors and two are sophomores.
That's correct, only three seniors.
Further, of Ellison's 11 defensive starters, five are seniors, five are juniors and one is a sophomore.
As a whole, EHS brought a 51-man roster to Leo Buckley Stadium, of which 19 are seniors, 26 are juniors and six are sophomores.
In other words, not only are the Eagles young, they're very young, and any criticism of their play is at least a year premature.
To put Ellison's youth into perspective, consider the Shoemaker roster, which out of 50 players contains 31 seniors.
Out of the 48 players Hays brought to Killeen last week, 35 were seniors.
Now, the naysayers may not like it, but the math can't be ignored the Eagles are mere pups.
"A lot of the mistakes we're making are young mistakes," Boyd said. "We've got some seniors making mistakes, too, so it's still a matter of putting it all together."
There are other things to consider.
Instead of loading his schedule with "gimmies," Boyd has elected to prepare his club for district play with a very rough dose of competition.
He could have easily slated a bunch of 3A frogs for the Eagles to munch on. Instead, he schedules 5A Buda Hays in Week 1, 5A Shoemaker in Week 2, and 5A Cedar Park in Week 3.
Hays is almost certain to see action in the postseason, Shoemaker has its most talented team ever and just ask Ross Rogers about Cedar Park.
Boyd may not have any wins to show for it this year, but no one can say the man lacks guts.
"We've played two good football teams," Boyd said. "Shomaker is very explosive and their coaching staff did a great job.
"Hopefully, down the road all of this torture is going to pay off and help us some."
In the meantime, the Eagles have been undeniably fun to watch, tallying 53 points and 811 yards through their first two games.
Sophomore quarterback Ivan Delgado is showing all the potential that Keith Smith did as a Shoemaker sophomore two years ago perhaps even more. And at last, Boyd's take-what-you-give-me offense is demonstrating that, when properly run, it produces results.
"They're tremendous ... what they do is unique," Shoemaker coach Ken Gray said. "Their quarterback really reminds me of Keith. He's elusive when he pulls the ball down, he's really dangerous, and he throws it well, too."
The good news for Ellison is, it's just scratching the surface of its potential.
All that is needed from its supporters is the patience to allow it to develop.
Contact Evan Ren at firstname.lastname@example.org