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Sports

Coventry football team’s future ‘super bright’

10/24/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COVENTRY — The Coventry High School football team’s overall record is 1-7, but first-year head coach Ed Egan said that mark doesn’t tell the whole story of the season.

“In four of the games we lost, it literally came down to a few plays here and a few plays there,” he said. “We don’t know how to finish yet, but once we do we’ll be right there with the other teams.”

Coventry has two games remaining — against Field and Rootstown high schools — and Egan said he is looking to see his team treat each game like a fresh new start to the season.

“We’re looking for 1-0 [each week]. We’re practicing for 1-0 and we’re preparing for 1-0,” he said. “The last two weeks, our offensive line has really dominated, and we didn’t have that in the first four or five games. If we can dominate the offensive and defensive lines the next two weeks, that’s a great way to end the season. Four out of our five offensive linemen are back next year, and all four of our defensive linemen will be back.”

Egan said this year’s team started off with very limited experience at the varsity level.

“On offense, we didn’t have any returning starters and defensively we only had three, so really we’re a young team in terms of starting experience,” he stated. “Next year, we’ll have eight returning starters on defense and eight returning starters on offense. So you have to be excited about that.”

At quarterback, Egan said, sophomore Jared Skaggs “has a lot of promise.”

“He’s tall and fast — he’s probably the third-fastest player on the team — and he’s come a long way,” the coach said. “The biggest thing is that we need to run the ball in order to protect him and let him get a chance to sit back there and pick defenses apart.”

Egan said the team has improved its play in the backfield lately.

“[Junior] Lawrence Anderson has really sparked as a tailback, and [senior] Nic Newman has come a long way at running back,” he said. “Now that the offensive line is starting to gel and dominate and come together, I’m really excited to see how they run in the last two weeks.”

One major loss for the offense this year, Egan said, was a season-ending injury to junior Zack Lake.

“He was our leading receiver for the first five weeks, and he ended up getting a dislocated shoulder,” the coach said. “We’ve been searching for a replacement, and senior Devin Elekes has shown a lot of promise. He had two huge one-handed catches [Oct. 18].”

According to Egan, the defense is led by junior end Devon Jones, who has double digit sacks on the season, and linebackers Joey Browning and Eric Owens.

“Joey and Eric have really come a long way at linebacker,” the coach said. “They’ve made huge improvements.”

Egan called the future of the Coventry football program “super bright.”

“We’re changing a lot of things. We’re adding a lot of things,” he said. “We have a new offense, a new defense, a new philosophy and we have new organization and structure. There’s a lot of excitement. Our [junior varsity] team is 7-1, and varsity-wise, we’re so close. I see a huge future for Coventry football.”

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