Eagles host North Callaway in opener

Kicking Game Could Make the Difference

The first game of any high school football season is usually decided by the team that makes the fewest first-game mistakes.

“There will be mistakes,” Eagles coach Trent Tracy said of Friday’s opener vs the North Callaway Thunderbirds. “Both teams will have first game jitters, but it’s important to get past that after the first play.”

Parker Boyce is the Eagles field goal kicker.

Parker Boyce is the Eagles field goal kicker.

Look for the SoBoCo Eagles to come out running the ball behind their solid offensive line. Tanner Smith, Jackson Sartain and Colby Phillips will likely pound out some yardage, which should open up the passing game for the Eagles.

The SoBoCo offense will spread the field when it comes to the passing game, with quarterback Spencer Taggart looking for any one of five receivers in pass patterns.

But Tracy and his staff watched the T-birds film from their jamboree and the Eagles respect their opening game opponent.

“They will be ready to play,” Tracy said of North Callaway. “They have some skill guys. They have a couple of running backs in Wyatt Branson and Adam Reno who can move the ball downfield. They also have a quarterback, senior Milo Henry, who showed us he can get out of a jam by using his feet. We will need to contain and not chase him.”

Defensively, Smith and Cole Morris at linebackers are key players for the Eagles to stop the run. The SoBoCo defensive backfield is untested, but is a very athletic group.

“We will have a lot of guys making their first start,” Tracy said, “but we had a good scrimmage and a good week of practice – we are ready for Friday night.”

The difference in the game may come from the kicking game.

The Eagles punter will be Jackson Sartain. “He doesn’t kick it a long way, but it goes end-over-end and can be tough to catch or get us a good roll,” Tracy said.

If the game is close, the Eagles will rely on kicker Parker Boyce.

Boyce has thumped field goals from a longer distance than SoBoCo kickers from the past and is very accurate. Just a sophomore, it is likely Boyce will own most Eagles kicking records before he graduates. “Parker has gone to some kicking camps and really come a long way in the past year,” Tracy said, “if the ball is around the 20-yard line, he can kick it.”

Look for the Eagles to utilize size and strength to neutralize the Thunderbirds offense. But if first-game mistakes hamper the Eagles efforts, Boyce and the kicking game could make the difference.

Eagles-Thunderbirds Roster

7:00 p.m. Friday, August 19, 2016