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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

New coach, same style for East Prairie Eagles

Sunday, August 19, 2012

EAST PRAIRIE -- The man at the helm may be different this season, but East Prairie football fans can expect the same style of Eagles football that they've grown to love.

Taking over for long time head coach Jason Aycock, long time East Prairie assistant Chad Jamerson said his squad will stick with the infamous Wing T offense that has served the Eagles well.

"We are absolutely staying with the Wing T," Jamerson said of his team's offensive philosophy. "We will be a base four front off defense and we're going to focus on defense and special teams more than anything this year."

Jamerson will be joined this year by a new coaching staff that includes Ben Walters taking over as offense coordinator and newcomer Trey Porter who will help Jamerson sure up the defense.

"Coach Walters is coming from the junior high where he had a very potent offense attack," Jamerson said. "He brings some fresh new ideas to this offense. I'm really excited about what he's done.

"This is (Porter's) first year. He'll help me out with defense. He's in charge of our defensive backs and wide receivers. He's got a lot of experience and I'm truly blessed to have both of those guys on my staff."

Along with a new coaching staff this year, will come some new faces at several key positions, including quarterback and runningback.

Last season seniors Dalton Golightly and Shawn King, along with then freshman Mack Marcum, shared quarterbacking duties while also taking turns at running back and wide receiver.

This season, Marcum takes the reigns of the offense as East Prairie looks to put last year's 1-9 campign in the rearview mirror.

"He's that guy right now who can control our offense," Jamerson said. "We're not expecting Mack to throw the ball 25 to 30 times a game. We're asking him to throw the ball and throw it well when he needs to.

"He's a spring out, roll out type quarterback. He's not a three-step game guy. But he definitely has a grasp of our offense and what needs to be done."

Jamerson added, "He brings a ton of leadership to that position. He's a leader by every means of the word. The kids follow him, listen when he talks and he's what you want with your starting QB."

While it can be daunting taking over an offense as an underclassman, Marcum feels up to the challenge.

"I played a little last year," he said "So it's nothing too new. I'm going to come out and do what I have to do."

With an offense that will rely heavily on the ground game, Jamerson said running back should be a position of strength.

The Eagles second best rusher last season, Adrian Soto, returns as only a sophomore.

Last season, Soto was second on the team behind Golightly in carries and yards rushing for 473 yards in 121 attempts for a 3.91 yards-per-cary average.

"We actually have a little bit of depth at running back," Jamerson said. "We are going to be what we consider a three-headed monster in the backfield with Soto, (junior) Brad Beck and newcomer (senior) Jerry Alexander splitting carries. Freshman Blayn Goodding will eventually get some carries as well at some point throughout the year."

One area where Jamerson hopes to change things up this season is on defense.

"We'll be a lot more aggressive this year," Jamerson said. "We're a base four team and against spread teams we'll be a 4-2-5. We're focusing right now on two keys to defense: pursuit and tackling.

"That's what we've focused on so far all off season is solid pursuit angles to the football and being in a bad mood when we get there."

East Prairie will kick off their season on Friday when they hit the road to play the Perryville Pirates at 7 p.m.