Eagles looking to hang with region heavyweights

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By Gene Stanley/Correspondent

Hokes Bluff High experienced a rare down year in 2012. Will that trend continue in 2013? 

Time will tell, but coach Mike Robertson doesn’t think this season will be quite as difficult. 

Playing in what he dubbed the “SEC Central” can make a good team look bad.

“We were a good team (last year) to have one win,” he said. “But we are in the toughest 4A region in the state, bar none. And on paper, every team in the region is showing improvement.”

With such traditional powers as Alexandria, Cherokee County and Hokes Bluff, plus up-and-comers like Munford, Anniston and Lincoln, some improvement by all could make for a potent region, indeed.

Four of the Eagles’ nine losses in 2012 were by a touchdown or less.

Working in the Eagles’ favor this season is overall numbers. There are 71 players that are evenly divided among the four classes.

However, the number of returnees doesn’t bode well. Only five players – two on offense and three on defense – return.

On offense, those players are running back Chase Beggs who gained over 1,000 yards as a freshman, and senior offensive lineman Seth Pollard.

“Beggs is bigger and stronger than last year,” Robertson said. “He has nowhere to go but up and he should get better every year.”

The Eagles return linebackers Chase Pope and linebacker Noah Click, as well as lineman Logan Latronico. Pope finished with 125 tackles last season, while Click had 93.

Pollard, Pope and Latronico are seniors, as are Stephen McDonald and Dylan Drake.

“All of the seniors are good leaders, on and off the field,” Robertson said. We had a good summer, and I think we’ll be bigger, faster and stronger.”

Assistant coaches are Jeff Noah, Brian Sexton, Taylor Morgan and Jake Ball. 

For the complete 2013 Messenger Football Preview that includes team rosters, photos and schedules, purchase a copy of the Aug. 23 edition of The Messenger. 

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