tampabay.com

Golden Eagles eager

By DOUG KATES
Published August 25, 2006


INDIAN ROCKS - Last season, Indian Rocks Christian School won four games. Early in training camp this year, the goal has been set to win five or more.

It won't be easy, however. The Golden Eagles lost 12 to graduation and have only one senior on this year's roster. Still, head coach Mark Buchanan has a positive outlook.

"We're going to be young and inexperienced, but we're looking forward to the season," he said. "The younger kids are gung-ho. We just need to gain experience."

GROUND GAME: Indian Rocks' running game will be centered around youth. Sophomores Lou Mason, Jonny Sitton and Ethan Englebert are expected to see most of the carries.

"This will really be our point of attack this year," Buchanan said.

AIR ATTACK: Matt Oliphant is expected to win the starting quarterback position. He is a junior, but did not play his sophomore year. He does have junior high experience.

Buchanan said the Golden Eagles will depend heavily on the ground game early in the season, but pass more once Oliphant is ready.

"He doesn't make mistakes," Buchanan said. "He's a smart kid. He does what we ask."

Isaac McMillen, a sophomore, may be the primary receiver, but also did not play last year. At 6-3, he can out-jump most defenders.

DEFENSE! DEFENSE! T.C. Connors, a junior, will anchor a "solid core" of defensive players. He has two years of varsity experience.

"He's worked hard in the weight room," Buchanan said. "He's a legitimate player up front."

Joining Connors will be senior defensive end Tim Summerlin and junior defensive end Tom Brown.

Buchanan said there is a lot of pressure on Summerlin because he is the only senior, but the coach says his upperclassmen are answering the challenge.

KICKING GAME: Englebert took most of the kicks in the spring and he made most of his extra points.

Englebert and Sitton are both competing for the job. They are both soccer players just trying to gain football experience.