Youth will certainly be served on the Eagleville High School football team this season.
In fact, of the 57 players on the Eagles roster, 30 are freshmen and 13 are sophomores.
"I see a lot of youth and inexperience," said eighth-year head coach Steve Carson. "It's going to be a work in progress. We're going to have a lot of guys who have not only played for us, but they haven't played much football period."
Offensively, Eagleville will have a different look this season as last year's starting quarterback, senior A.J. Garza, has been moved to tailback. Freshman Ethan Cobb and senior Jacob Acuna are battling for the starting quarterback job.
"A.J. is one of the best athletes in our school," Carson said. "If he plays quarterback, it's hard for him to do a lot of things. He's not a 20-25 carry guy. He's a kid we want to give the ball to 10 to 14 times a game. We want to throw to him out of the backfield and utilize him in different areas. Moving him also will allow him to return punts and kicks for us. It opens up more options for us and him."
Up front, the Eagles will start three seniors and one junior, so there is some experience for Garza to run behind.
"We're trying to find our identity as a team right now," Carson said. "What we have to do as coaches is put these guys in the right position and schemes to be successful."
Defensively, Eagleville returns six starters, so the group is obviously ahead of the offense at this point.
"Right now, the defense has an edge on the offense, and we've got a great plan for our defense," Carson said. "We just have to practice and practice and get better every day. A lot of our young kids are going to be in back-up roles, but they'll have to play. They have to learn what's being taught and go out and execute it.
Eagleville will compete in Class 2A this season and arguably play in its toughest region since Carson took over the program.
"We have some common teams that we've played, but realignment wasn't good for us," he said. "We're only 14 students from being in 1A, and we play three 2A schools -- Westmoreland, Cascade and East Robertson -- that are three of the largest in the state."
The Eagles have made the playoffs six straight years, including making the quarterfinals three times. Returning to postseason play figures to be quite a task for Eagleville, but Carson's teams always seem to overachieve. More important, they've had a knack for winning close games decided in the fourth quarter.
"My biggest expectation is to go out and compete, hustle and play with great effort every single practice and every single game," Carson said. "If we don't play hard and don't out-hit and out-hustle people, then I'll be disappointed.
"When I say compete, I'm talking about individual drills in practice to games. How we're going to be successful is to play with a great amount of effort."
QB: Ethan Cobb, Fr.; Jacob Acuna, Sr.
RB: A.J. Garza, Sr.; Austin Wright, Sr.
WR: Graham Hatcher, So.; Tyler Griffin, Sr.; Garrett Parker, Sr.; Matthew Pollard, Sr.; Caleb Wilkins, Jr.
TE: Isaac Gleaves, Fr.
OL: Jacob Henderickson, Jr.; Pedro Pena, Jr.; James Witt, Sr.; Jonah Womick, Sr.; Chavalier Sutton, So.
DL: Chavalier Sutton, So.; James Witt, Sr.; Jonah Womick, Sr.
LB: Austin Wright, Sr.; Jonah Clement, So.; Josh Wallman, So.; Tyler Roberts, Sr.
DB: A.J. Garza, Sr.; Jacob Acuna, Sr.
S: Matthew Pollard, Sr.; Garrett Parker, Sr.
Punter: Matthew Pollard, Sr.
Kicker: Josh Stout, Fr.; Jonathan Vermillion, Fr.
Sports editor Monte Hale Jr. may be contacted at email@example.com