EDDYVILLE — Because of a shortage of referees, the Eddyville Charter football game against Alsea has been rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 1
But when it’s been nearly a decade since the last time the Eagles took the gridiron, what’s one extra day?
“I’m just excited for them to get to play because it’s all about (the players),” said head coach Leon Buel. “It’s been nine years since they last got to play.”
Since it’s the first year that the program has returned, the team was struggling with numbers in the early stages of practice But those numbers have gradually started to climb — especially when the school year started on Aug. 27.
“Everything is going alright,” Beul said. “We went from eight kids all the way up until school started. Now I have 11. Except those three aren’t ready to play. If I can get every kid to play I will; I don’t care if there are 19 players.”
Now, six-man football is much different than 11-man or even eight-man football, but because the majority of the team hasn’t played high school football or any type of football in several years in some cases, the learning curve wasn’t as stark as the coaches expected.
“It’s gone much easier than I thought it would be,” Beul said. “In a way that was a good thing, they are fresh slates pretty much. They’ve learned well in practice, but we will see Saturday.”
Of the 11 players on the team, there is only one senior — Kurt Faxon — and most of the team is made up of freshmen.
But the Eagles landed one of the school’s top athletes in Keagan Spikes. He was the cross country team’s fastest runner, holding the school record in the triple jump and starring on the basketball team.
Spikes was just going to continue running cross country — which he will still compete in — but he was swayed by one of the assistant coaches.
“He was like ‘you should play football, we need you, you would make a good asset,’ And I was like ‘I kinda missed football’ so that’s what changed my mind so I joined and it’s been fun.”
Since he didn’t join the team until this week, Spikes is not eligible for Saturday’s game.
“It’s great that he’s here. He has a lot to catch up on. He’s missed two weeks of practice,” Beul said. “He still has to earn everything.”
As the players were issued their black and orange game jerseys, there was a sense of excitement for Saturday’s game against Alsea. Even with the rules changes, Beul said, it’s still the same game.
“I think the game is still football; everyone still hits everyone,” Beul said. “I want to see — they’ve been hitting hard in practice — if that translates into a game when it comes time to hit people.”