The Canton-Galva football team is banking on its returning players to give the team cohesiveness, which will translate to wins on the field.
Coach Darrin Fisher said what has been a weakness in the past—lack of camaraderie—could be a strength this year.
“This year we have a lot of that,” he said. “We have a lot of seniors who’ve really taken hold of the younger guys, embracing them and bringing them in, and having that type of camaraderie among the team I think is going to be a big factor for us.”
The Eagles lost two seniors to graduation last year who were starters, but they return six seniors on both sides of the ball.
Fisher emphasized the influence of his team captains: quarterback Nick Vogts, linebacker and tight end Cody Peavy and middle linebacker and center Kolby Moddelmog.
“They’re great leaders,” Fisher said. “You come out and watch practice, and that’s exactly what you want your players to have, such a work ethic and leadership.
“They’re not very vocal guys, but they lead with their work out there on the field. They’re the guys you definitely want leading your team.”
In addition to helping with team cohesiveness, Fisher said returning experience will help with the technical aspects of the game.
“We’ve got a lot of guys with a lot of playing time on the varsity level,” he said. “With a second year in a system, the same type of offense, the same type of defense, they’re used to the lingo and terminology and coaching style.
“I think it’s starting to match well and the guys are starting to come together.”
The Eagles have several freshmen who add to the mix.
“Tanner Klingensmith is a young freshman who’s going to be our backup quarterback and a linebacker,” Fisher said. “He’ll probably also see some time on defense and special teams.
“A big kid, Kenrick Bandy, also is a freshman and we’re excited about him on offense and defensive line.”
Fisher said he just expects the freshmen to contribute and learn from the team.
“They’re going to provide us with some breathers for the older players, and also on special teams and certain downs,” he said. “So they’ll have a big effect on us in games, and I?think they’ll do a great job filling in.”
Fisher is hoping the combination of old and new will lead to improvement from their 1-8 record last season.
“We want to be in games where we are able to compete,” he said. “We did an OK job last year in the first half competing, and then in the second half the inexperience kind of played in.
“I think this year we have more experience and we’ll be more competitive in games.”
Fisher knows his team will need each other as they take on top teams such as Lincoln and Little River.
“Those teams are pretty good,” he said. “Lincoln was really good last year and they have their quarterback coming back. Little River always has a good team with some good tradition.”
If the Eagles can win a few games early in their season, Fisher said it will give them momentum going into those tough games.
“We have to execute and we have to play pretty flawless football in order to be able to compete with those teams,” he said, adding that precision is the key to success.
“We talk about it with the guys, being precise on the field, executing plays,” Fisher said. “We preach that over and over again.
“I think if we do those things, the score will take care of itself.”
The Eagles are scheduled to kick off their season at home versus Central Christian Sept. 2.