Senior loaded defense ready to lead Eagles
The 2017 athletic season is about to kick off and for the CSC football team, it is all about redemption.
Last season, the Eagles finished 3-8, their worst finish under Head Coach Jay Long. Long said that the team is excited and ready to compete.
“We are a new team,” Long said. “Every year your team becomes a new team. We are excited to move forward, our upperclassmen have done a great job of rebuilding our culture. Fall camp went really well, the guys came into camp in shape.”
At times last year, the CSC defense held the Eagles in games, but after grueling time-consuming possessions, fans could see the fatigue. Long said that the secondary has “8 or 9 guys with game experience,” and the defensive line has six seniors with game reps.
This year, the senior-loaded defense will once again be the go-to for Long. Ryan and Brian Wood, seniors of Stockton, California, return to the secondary along with fellow senior Steven Allen, of Knoxville, Tennessee.
On the front lines, the player to watch will be defensive end Collin Eisenman, senior of Sheridan, Wyoming. Eisenman was named to the All-RMAC second team as well as the All-Nebraska DII team with 56 tackles, 10 for loss, and five sacks.
Long also said that the young linebacker crew is talented, and will improve every game.
A year ago, the big question was who would start at quarterback. This season, a new face will step in as field general. Dalton Holst, redshirt freshman of Gillette, Wyoming, has been named the starting quarterback for the season opener.
Long spoke highly of the 6 foot, 3 inch, product from Cambell County High School.
“Dalton (Holst) came into camp in shape and ready to go,” Long said. “His offense in high school is really similar to ours with a quick passing scheme and getting the ball out fast.”
Holst has a history of winning, leading his team to two Wyoming State Championships, in 2014 and 2015. His senior year, he went 11-1, throwing for more than 3,000 yards, and 34 touchdown passes.
The past two seasons were originally started by TD Stein, redshirt sophomore of Chadron, but injuries have plagued the young native, and once again hit in the offseason. Stein suffered a leg injury over the summer and has yet to recover.
Long also said that the offensive highlight should once again be the backfield. Three tailbacks with game experience are returning to lead the Eagles on the ground. Derek Jackson, senior of Pueblo West, Colorado, and Kevin Coy, redshirt junior of Davenport, Florida, both split carries last season and will be expected to do the same in 2017. Jackson is a dynamic rusher, with the agility and speed to break away from defenders. While Coy can also break away, he is well known to seek contact and go through the defense.
“Our running back core is one of the strongest additions to our team,” Long said.
Other tailbacks expected to receive reps are Priest Jennings, redshirt sophomore of Stockton, California, and Brad Johnston, redshirt freshman of Scottsbluff.
The offensive line is returning three starters, center Jake Geil, redshirt junior of Casper, Wyoming; left guard Matt Barden, senior of Aurora, Colorado; and left tackle Travis Romsa, redshirt junior of Burns, Wyoming.
The Eagles kick off their season on the road, playing Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, in the season opener. CSC earned their first win of 2016 against the Skyhawks, capitalizing on a blocked punt and an interception to sneak away with a 17-10 win.
“It’s our first game of the year and we need to focus on ourselves and focus on what we do well,” Long said.
Kickoff is scheduled for noon, Saturday. Live streaming, live stats, and radio coverage for the game are available on the athletics website, chadroneagles.com