LINDALE — Yellow school busses dotted the landscape around Lindale high school Friday afternoon as the Eagles geared up to go east for their first of two scrimmages.
The Eagles were to face Marshall at 7 p.m. at Maverick Stadium, anxious to put last season’s struggles in the rearview mirror. Lindale finished 2-8, winning its season opener and season finale, but suffered through an eight-game losing streak in between — getting outscored 315-129 in those eight losses.
“Our kids know that it was a tough year last year,” said Mike Meador, entering his eighth season as head coach of the Eagles. “I played a lot of young players at the end of the year. I started 11 sophomores and that junior class is back. They just have a different mentality.
“I have some new coaches and the excitement around here is ‘hey, we’re getting back.’ We did not have very much fun last year and we are going to make it fun again.”
Meador hopes more fun equals more points.
Quarterbacks Nash Walters and David Slice split snaps during summer 7-on-7, finishing one game shy of qualifying for the state tournament. The Eagles scored 19.1 points per game last season with three of their losses by seven points or less.
“They are both leaders and great kids and both have been stepping up their game,” Meador said about his QBs. “We are going to start Slice in the scrimmages, but it’s a true competition and right now I couldn’t tell you who is (leading). If one stands out as the best guy, then we are going to go with him.”
Lindale uses a spread offense, but is expected to run the ball as much as pass. The Eagles finished with 130 yards per game on the ground. Meador said he has five ball carriers he trusts.
“Delenis Garrett is a junior, who is about 210 pounds and he is a strong, fast kid,” Meador said. “I’ve got a couple more who are strong, physical-types and I think they are all going to do a good job.”
On defense, Lindale allowed 35 points per game last season. The Eagles are competing in District 16-4A, which features Whitehouse quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a Texas Tech commit and two-time state semifinalist John Tyler.
Meador said new defensive coordinator Clint King understands the challenge the Eagles face.
“You are going against Whitehouse, John Tyler; Corsicana has a quarterback who is going to be better, and Jacksonville has a quarterback who is going to be better,” Meador said. “It’s going to be tough. I think being a defensive coach right now is the hardest thing there is.”
The Eagles return seven players on defense, most of whom are juniors after gaining experience by necessity of injuries last season.
“We are kind of young, but we are experienced,” Meador said. “(The injuries we had) made for a tough year last year, but at the same time these guys were able to get ready for this year.”
Lindale opens the 2013 season on the road Aug. 30 at Chapel Hill. The Eagles and Bulldogs will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Bulldogs Stadium.
NOTES: Chad Hodges is the new offensive coordinator, moving from quarterbacks coach, while King is the defensive coordinator, coming to Lindale from La Grange.