Coming off their first winning season since 1994, anticipation is high for the 2006 Eagle squad.
"Last year is in the past," said East Prairie head coach Corey Adkisson, "but what they did for us was create a buzz about this year's team. I think we got more kids excited about football that normally may not have played in the past. Hopefully the confidence built from last year will carry over this season. Last year will be a long time ago when we kick it off the first Friday night.
"We lost some good kids, but we think we have some guys that can fill right in and play for us. I have had a lot of people around town ask how are we going to be this year? So the buzz around town for the upcoming season is starting to build in East Prairie. Going 5-4 last year is good and everything, but that is not where we want to go. We want to get better every single year."
It has truly been a long time for the fans in East Prairie to be so excited for the start of football season. The last time the town was in a frenzy about football was in 1994, when the Eagles went 11-2 and lost in the Class 2A semifinals to Monroe City.
After going 5-5 a year later, the Eagle program went through a long period of losing, compiling a 14-65 record from 1996-2004 until finally breaking through with a winning season last year.
East Prairie lost to Caruthersville last season in the district final and will return several key players this season.
According to Adkisson, the first camp of the year for the Eagles is to get the kids thinking about football.
"We are trying to carry over momentum from last year," said Adkisson. "When you get in the summer time, it is hard to get the guys here. Our thinking is if we can get them here early in the summer, we can get more kids to come out and participate in camp. This type of schedule really worked out well for us last year and we are back at it this summer."
The Eagles went through several offensive and defensive drills during the camp. The coaches then separated the players into individual position work.
Throughout the process, the coaches and players were fired up and showing excitement for the upcoming football season in East Prairie. The number of players involved were high as are the expectations for the upcoming season.
"We have had a good turnout with an average of 40 kids," said Adkisson. "We have had some kids out due to baseball and things, but overall the numbers are looking good. Once fall camp rolls around, we look to come in with around 45 players. The more players we can get out, the more successful we think we can be."
The Eagles will end the summer camp this week and will attend a team camp at Arkansas State over the weekend.
East Prairie will have the second part of their camp the last week of July.