Eagles relying on their big, strong linemen to make another EOAC run

Sports

The United Eagles need solid line play while developing new skill players

HANOVERTON, Ohio (WKBN) – Gone from the United Eagles football team are standout offensive playmakers in quarterback Brutus Ogilvie (2,801 yards passing) and receiver Keaton Baker (1,392 receiving yards) from their EOAC championship team.

But the key ingredient that The Eagles have returning is a nucleus of big and strong linemen.  Anchoring the line will be seniors Cole Ellyson (6’0, 225) and Payne Brereton (6’0, 235), along with sophomore Dallas McCracken (6’5, 280) as head coach D.J. Ogilvie will rely on the trio to lead the Eagles to another EOAC title run.

“Payne Brereton and Cole Ellyson are three-year starters and are both captains,” Ogilvie said.  “Those guys are our leaders, and what is great about them is that they just keep their mouths shut and work hard.  Their leadership is by their work ethic.”

“I picked up a new role this year as a leader where last year I was lead by seniors,” Ellyson added.

“You win in the trenches,” Ogilvie stated.  “So we have some good linemen coming back that we can build off of that.  They have had a great off-season.  They are strong and they play hard.”

Looking to fill the Eagles lineup in the trenches are senior Steffen Jarrett (6’6, 270) at tackle, junior Jack Strader (5’8, 190) at guard, and senior Tyler Dickens (6’0, 250) at tackle are battling to fill out those final two spots.  The importance of them jelling early in the season while the new skill players for the Eagles get up to speed will be critical in the Eagle’s success this season.

“We have to be able to run the football.  I think that is the key this year,” Ogilvie remarked.  “To do that, you have to have good offensive linemen.  I think every year you have to take a look at your team and what is the strength of your team and build off of that.  So I think for us it’s our offensive line that we need to build off of.”

“Bringing back most of the line, we get to keep the bond we developed last year and bring in a few new pieces to keep what we had last year going,” Ellyson remarked.

Ogilvie realizes it will take some time for his skill plays to develop and build some chemistry between all the working parts before they can do some of the things that made them so explosive in 2020.

“We’re starting a new quarterback (Grant Knight) this year who was a slot receiver last year.  It’s going to take time for him to develop and understand when and where we want him to throw to.  He’s getting better and he is a really good athlete and we need to build on that athletic ability,” Ogilvie remarked.

“Having Brutus last year and then switching over to Grant this year has been a little bit of a transition.  Brutus threw for a lot of yards last year and Grand is pretty capable at running the ball,” Ellyson commented.

Brereton and Ellyson will also play a big role on the defensive side, but the Eagles have a bit more depth on that side of the ball.  The Eagles have rotated many players on the defensive line the past couple of years, giving Ogilvie more options to play with.

“Both of those guys will start on the defensive line.  We have a little more depth on the defensive line as we will rotate guys to keep them all fresh, but Brereton and Ellyson are two-way starters and we need them to have a great season for us,” Ogilvie said.

“Bringing back a lot of the guys, we don’t have to replace starters, we just need to build off of what we had last year,” Ellyson commented on the confidence the Eagles feel heading into the season.

The Eagles will test just how far they have developed this Friday when they host the Minerva Lions.  On September 10th they will host Valley Christian in what should be an early pivotal game in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference.

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