Photo By Loren Orr - #33 Charlie Baker
Written By: Sven Alskog
After 14 seasons under the direction of Paul Peterson, Eagle football will now have a new sideline general.
During his time leading the Mustangs, Peterson coached the varsity squad to an overall record of 109-40, 12 straight playoff appearances and a state title in the 2009 season.
New head coach John Hartz previously served as an assistant for the program, giving him familiarity with the talent that is on-hand.
Playmaker Ben Ford, wide receivers Dalton Mashore and Cam Churchill and running back Charlie Baker all return to lead the offense, with opportunistic defensive back Gannon Matthews and linebacker Derek Tommasini a couple of the standouts on the defensive side of things.
Sophomore quarterback Mason McHugh is a player to watch as well, with his emergence potentially opening up the opportunity to expand Ford’s role beyond that of a typical quarterback.
While the talent is obviously exciting, Hartz has a different reason for optimism.
“I am most excited about our work ethic.”
Two players who exemplified that work ethic mindset were offensive lineman Luke Masters and linebacker Matt Hudson, both of which have graduated, leaving important holes to fill in their respective spots.
The return of assistant coaches Eric Fillmore, James Cluphf, Rob Rathbun and Nathan White should help ensure that the characteristics that have defined the Eagle football program will remain the same moving forward.
Last season the Mustangs went 7-4 and advanced to the state quarterfinals against eventual runner-up Highland. Seven offensive starters (two All-Conference) and three defensive starters (one All-Conference) return from that team.
Early in the season it will be interesting to see how the new coach puts his own stamp on things and how much, if anything, looks different on Friday nights. The first opportunity to see Hartz and his team will be on August 30 at Centennial.