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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Eagles to feature new faces in key roles

Friday, August 19, 2011

East Prairie Eagles
EAST PRAIRIE -- With so many of the key cogs to last year's team lost to graduation, the East Prairie Eagles will feature some new faces in key roles this year as they try to post their fourth-consecutive winning season.

Taking over at starting quarterback will be senior Dalton Golightly, while fellow seniors wide receiver Philip Latamondeer, wide receiver/defensive back Shawn King and offensive guard/defensive tackle Billy Aycock are also expected to be big contributors and leaders for the Eagles this season.

"Talent wise I'm not worried about them fitting in to those (vacated) positions," East Prairie coach Jason Aycock said. "The question is how well can these guys fit in to the leadership roles of the players that we lost.

"But skill wise I'm not worried as much as I am in the intangible part of it."

Last season the Eagles finished with a 6-4 record as their hopes of a second consecutive playoff birth came down to the final week of the season. Facing a Malden team that was also fighting for their playoff lives, however, East Prairie saw their postseason hopes end in a 27-0 shutout.

The loss signaled the end of line for a senior group that included three members of the all-region team in offensive lineman/linebacker Alan Miller, wide receiver Mikey Russell and defensive tackle Alex Marcum. Last year's starting quarterback Connor Scott and running back Aaron Miller were among those that departed as well.

Tasked with running the Eagle's Wing T scheme in place of the Scott, Aycock said Golightly will bring an added dimension to the offense.

"They're two total different types of quarterbacks," Aycock said. "Last year with Connor, we had that pocket passer who threw the ball down the field. Dalton, he's not your pocket passer yet.

"We do have a pocket package, but he's more of your rollout, short-style passing game (quarterback). The aspect that he brings to the game that Connor didn't is he can run the football as well and he does have the ability of throwing the ball down the field."

He'll be aided by a deep group of running backs that will likely all see their share of time in the backfield this season.

"We have a good group of young running backs," said Aycock. "We have Frankie Nave to step in there whose doing a fantastic job. We have Brad Beck to step in there and we also have Philip Latamondeer that's running in that role a bit also.

"J.T. (Aycock) is going to get his share of the carries, but his main role will be special teams wise as a punt returner and kick returner."

On the defensive side, East Prairie will need to replace defensive tackle Marcum, who had 23 solo tackles and three sacks last season, along with linebacker Alan Miller who finished last year with 76 solo tackles, five sacks and interceptions.

As a unit last season, the Eagles held opponents to less than 20 points in five of their games.

"We've got a good strong defensive line," said Ayock of this year's group. "That's probably going to be the strength of our team. We lost all of our linebackers, but we do have a group of kids that have stepped in there that's doing well.

"The thing about our defense is we're fast. We're inexperienced, but we our fast."

East Prairie will participate in Dexter's Jamboree tonight before opening the regular season next Friday at home against Hayti at 7 p.m.

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