The East Lawrence Eagles took a different approach to their spring this year.
Well instead of playing a spring game around here, the Eagles opted for a trip to Gulf Shores.
Head coach James Moore gave up two days of practice for the trip. Those two days were spent traveling instead, but he felt it was the best thing for his team.
“There were two reasons I had,” Moore said. “One was we didn’t play well on the road last year. So, I wanted to go somewhere we could be successful and let our kids see that we can do good on the road.”
The second reason was more for off the field.
“Another thing is I wanted to take the kids somewhere so they can better understand how to act off the field,” he said. “Let them better see how to conduct themselves in a different atmosphere and see how they handled it.”
The Eagles played two halves against two different teams, Baldwin County and Elberta.
Against Baldwin County the Eagles lost 10-7 but they rebounded with a win over Elberta 22-0. Both varsity and jv played in the games.
Nate Tucker had a 75 yard receiving touchdown, while Hunter Letson had a 46 yard rushings score. Dylan Hunter rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns, and newcomer Juan Lopez finished with nine tackles.
“We were lightyears ahead of where we were last spring,” Moore said. “The plays, the atmosphere and the way we played was so much better.”
After spending their first full offseason with Moore, the head coach was ready to start seeing the fruits of his team’s labor.
“Everybody played and I was looking for improvement in areas such as blocking up front, handling the speed of the game and having a better understanding of what we’re trying to do,” he said. “We made some mistakes, a couple of turnovers a few penalties, but mainly just mental mistakes. But overall I saw a difference in understanding what we were doing and I didn’t see anything that happened that we couldn’t fix.”
The spring game provided something different for the Eagles, who just had a inter squad game last year.
“When you play an inter squad game, you’ve hit your own guys for so long it gets a little monotonous,” Moore said. “You’re just not going to get the same effort you get if you play another team. Playing someone else you get film, you get to fix mistakes you didn’t see in practice and it gives the kids a chance to show what they can do against another helmet.”
With spring over now, the Eagles shift their outlook to the summer and the 2019 season. East Lawrence missed out on the playoffs by one game last year despite going 2-8, and Moore believes they can reach the playoffs this year.
“We’re stronger than we were last year but we’re still not where we want to be. We have to focus on getting faster and that’s where our mindset is,” he said. “We have to take what we’ve done and continue to add to it. We’re big enough and strong enough but now we have to get fast enough. We’re close to where we want to be and I really believe if these kids keep working like they have been that we will get there.”