Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Sports

May 30, 2014

Bright future at the Boneyard

Eustace linemen spend part of spring workouts winning fourth annual lineman challenge

EUSTACE — Eustace athletic director Heath Ragle is feeling confident about the direction of the athletic program.

He said with spring workouts coming to a close, the excitement is showing among all student athletes.

“They have been going really well and we are really pleased,” Ragle said. “Offensively with what we retained with the coaching staff in my second year and with the system we run  the kids have taken off with it.”

With his first year as athletic director coming to a close, Ragle said he is starting to see battles developing among players as they prepare for the summer workout program.

“We have a lot of battles and a lot of young kids defensively that are getting experience with varsity play,” Ragle said. “We have a lot of battles that we are trying to shake out and I figure they will go all the way up to the first varsity game.”

One strong point from this spring came from the linemen as they were able to win the fourth annual Lone Star Lineman Challenge on May 3 in Mineola.

Around 38 teams were represented, which consisted of nine events where linemen from each school competed to earn points.

Ragle said he believes the fourth year of their workout program has paid off in the success of their student athletes.

“We have the summer workout program for all seventh to 12th grade kids for boys and girls,” Ragle said. “They come in from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday-Thursday and it has been a big part of our athletic success as a program.”

Eustace currently holds the longest playoff streak at six years among the county teams.

Ragle said he hopes the athletes continue working out during the summer so they can pick up their training quickly in August.

“It makes you nervous when the kids release for the summer,” Ragle said. “Our kids are pretty good about showing up during the summer. We have no concerns, but we want to see them being consistent during the summer so we can win in the fall.”

With a run first offense, the quarterback position is one where Ragle is losing a top player.

With Ryan Brown graduating on Saturday, a senior has shown promise for the Bulldogs during the workouts.

“We have a senior in Brandon Morgan that is a really smart kid and a hard worker. He has done a great job and played last year when Ryan was out with an injury,” Ragle said. “We have a lot of confidence in him and feel like he will do a great job for us next year.”

They will also need to look for a punter and a kicker as Brown took care of the special team duties last season.

“We have evaluated what we have and we have a couple of kids that have kicked for us on the JV,” Ragle said. “We have a kid named  Cody Duncan that we are pretty confident in and feel like he could kick for us.”

He said the punting duties should be settled during two-a-day workouts starting August 4.

“We also need to find a punter and Ryan was a heck of a punter and a kicker,” the coach said. “He will be tough to replace but I think we can have some guys that will help us out hopefully.”

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