Ellwood’s B.J. Harris makes a catch during practices earlier this month. -- File Photo

ECA Eagles ready to host Francis Marion

Published 10:43pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Ellwood Christian Academy Eagles will suit up for their first official game as members of the Alabama High School Athletic Association on Thursday.

The Eagles will face the Francis Marion High School Rams Thursday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

Stokes said the Eagles have one goal entering Thursday’s game — win.

“We’re looking to win. I think the kids are realizing what it takes to win,” Stokes said. “We’re looking to just go out and do the things we’ve been teaching and we’ve been preaching to them for the past five or six months. Hopefully, it all comes together.”

Looking at them on film, Stokes said the Rams have a lot of athleticism.

“They’re a good team,” Stokes said. “They’ve got good athletes and we’ve got our work cut out for us, but I think if we go out and play we’ll be okay.”

Stokes said the coaching staff has been working to make the players maintain focus entering the first game of the season.

“Challenges, is just trying to keep the guys focused and disciplined. That’s what we’ve been preaching is discipline, discipline, discipline. Honestly, some have bought in and some still need a little work.”

One of the things the Eagles will benefit from is an increase of players on the roster, and Stokes said it’ll help the coaches maintain the stamina of some key players.

“That’s probably the biggest plus we’ve got is our numbers,” Stokes said. “We’ve 37 or 38 compared to last year when we only had 15, 16 or 17. That enables some of the kids we have to get a rest here and there. That’s a big plus for us.”

While defensive play was solid in last week’s jamboree game, Stokes said the Eagles need their offense to step up in order to have a shot at beating the Rams.

“Our offense is going to have to play well. They’re going to have to play better than what we did last Friday [in jamboree game] because if they don’t it’s going to be a long night,” Stokes said. “Our defense held up good for us, but our offense has got to come around. But that’s kind of expected because the defense is always ahead of the offense. Hopefully, by week three or four, the offense will start clicking like it’s supposed to.”

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