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Eagles looking to better season

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By Chris Cannon

            Falling just short in the finals last season, the Jacksboro Eagles are looking to come back strong in their 2012 campaign. With an abundance of experienced talent on the squad, the finals may be all they have to worry about.

            “We’ve worked hard, and I hope we’ve done all the things that we need to do,” head coach Mike Miller said. “We work out twice a week, and we’ve had a passing and individual camp. We’re concentrating on the little things. We’re real optimistic.”

            Looking to face off with a talented traveling team from Fulton, the Eagles are hoping to see what they’re made of. Jacksboro and LaFollette both play in tonight’s Jamboree at Jacksboro Middle School, beginning with the junior varsity squads meeting at 6:00 p.m.

            LaFollette will play Cumberland Gap at around 6:45, while Jacksboro will look to take on a tough Fulton squad around 7:30. A skills competition will highlight the evening between the two games.

            “[Playing against Fulton will] kind of gauge what we’ve got,” Miller said. “They are a traveling team: an All-Star team. They are hand picked. We have to be realistic. We hope to have a good showing, anyways, but we realize what they are.”

            Good showings is what the Eagles have become accustomed to. In their three scrimmages this fall, they’ve scored in each, mainly because of their receiving core.

With two 6-foot receivers on the outside, Jacksboro has no trouble hitting their targets through the air.

            “It’s a pretty good advantage,” receiver Josh Lay said. “Most of the corners are pretty small, so it’s going to be easy.”

            Thus far, they’ve made it look that way. According to Miller, those two receivers have scored in every scrimmage they’ve had. However, possibly a bigger advantage is going to be that of experience and fresh legs.

            “We’re able to play some people on just one side of the ball, and that makes a difference,” Miller said. “That makes a big difference. Those guys are coming in fresh. We’re playing probably 16 to 17 kids. We’ve got 23 eighth graders. That’s a good problem to have.”

            Fresh legs will be a key factor. This season, the Eagles have what Miller calls “good overall speed.” With that speed, Jacksboro looks to put some distance between themselves and their competitors.

            “That speed plays a really big part,” Jared Ray said. “Speed makes a lot of changes during a game. Speed helps. We’ve got a good set of backs, and I really think we’re going to do well.”

            To the Eagles, tonight’s game is more that just a Jamboree. With a chance to prove themselves against some of the toughest competition they’ll face all year is something that they are all looking forward to.

            “We have some speed, but we need to get better,” Jacob McGuire said. “We need to hit hard. We’ve got to hit hard and keep them from the outside. They’ve got some big players.”

            “We’re all wanting to get to that football,” teammate Dustin Leach echoed. “Whoever has it, tackle them.”

            For Miller, the satisfaction can already be seen. With over 20 players looking to make the move to high school next season, he has one last year to prepare them before their step up.

“We try to have a good time,” Miller said. “When it comes to working, they know when to work. If we put a good work ethic into it, it’ll pay off. I’m pretty proud of the fact that most of Campbell County’s defense is Jacksboro…that says it for me as a coach. If I prepare them