Eaton football starting backfield returns


EATON— The Eaton Eagles have a new football coach in Brad Davis. Davis, who has been the team’s defensive coordinator, will be bringing back an old school approach to the game as evidenced by the intense summer camp the players have been through.

Davis said summer camp and practices went well for the season as he and a new coaching staff tried to bring back toughness.

“We wanted to get metal and physical toughness back in our program, we felt like we got away from it, so we worked their tails off and they responded well,” he said.

Davis said it was important for his team to move on from last year’s disappointing season, noting he told his team last year was an anomaly and with hard work they can make sure it remains one.

One positive Davis has in his favor as he takes the reigns is the return of the starting quarterback senior Austin Hartlzer, and four-year letterman Damon Willard at running back.

Davis said having the starting backfield return allows the process of learning a new offensive system easier for young players. He said both Willard and Hartlzer will be called upon to help mesh some of the schemes, ideas, and terminology to allow for a smoother transition.

Zach Blaylock and Jared Dunn will look to anchor the offensive line for the Eagles as senior leaders in the trenches where many games are won and lost in football.

Hartlzer will have weapons surrounding him in Tyrell David, Shelby Ward and Brian Conner, who will be the team’s wide receivers.

Defensively the team returns a core group of starters to maintain the high pressure, 4-2 system traditionally run by Davis. Davis still likes to think of himself as the defensive coordinator, and said his linebacker coach joked Eaton has never returned both interior linebackers, something they will do this year.

Darius Spears, who was called the team’s vocal leader, will return and act as the voice of the defense when the season starts with him at middle backer. KJ Melling also returns to man the middle with Spears.

David and Ghye Wilson will be the starting corners while defensive ends Drew Moore and Johnny Nicodemus will help battle in the trenches.

Lew Bowser will start at one safety, as multiple players continue to battle for the right to start opposite of him in the secondary in what Davis said was a great ongoing battle in camp.

The motto for the team according to Davis will be “one game and one play at a time.” Davis said the seniors chose the motto to remind themselves to always move on to the next play and only worry about controlling what can be controlled.

Davis will look for his first career win as the head coach of Eaton when the team travels to Greenville on Friday, Aug. 28 to face a team which returns its starting backfield just as the Eagles do.

Eaton running back Damon Willard runs for a first down against Tippecanoe during the Jamboree at Eaton High School on Friday, Aug. 21. running back Damon Willard runs for a first down against Tippecanoe during the Jamboree at Eaton High School on Friday, Aug. 21.

By Austin Schmidt

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Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062

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