Almost three years ago to the day, the Prosper Eagles gathered towards mid-field to talk to first-year head coach Chris Ross after a tough, some would say heartbreaking, loss to Frisco Lone Star in the first round of the 2014 Texas high school football playoffs.
If you weren’t there, you missed a moment that to this day I still have not forgotten and I’ll never be able to ‘unsee.’
There wasn’t a dry eye among any of the players. All of them emotional because they knew it was their game to win and they weren’t ready to be done with the season. For the seniors especially, it was a hard game to accept.
I remember walking down to the field and the first person I wanted to get the reaction of was Ross. Someone I had grown to really respect, and someone I’m honored to call a friend.
I was surprised to see the emotion on his face. This emotion wasn’t something you could fake. This was the kind of emotion that any coach would have when he had to see the heart-breaking looks on his player’s faces.
So many injuries when they couldn’t afford it, so many plays that could have gone their way, so many situations that should have gone differently.
In the end, they just didn’t.
It’s been three years since that evening. Three years since the looks on faces of players who would never again wear the white and green. Three years since those players walked away from Prosper and on to the future that awaited them.
What the town of Prosper can look forward to is the future isn’t three years behind them.
In fact, it’s a lot closer.
The talent that the Eagles have from top to bottom might be better than the team that was bounced out of the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. That talent has the ability to run the table in their district and, with most of their starters healthy, could make the kind of run in the state playoffs that this town has looked forward to since they celebrated a state championship team with Prosper baseball just two years ago.
Look at the depth this team has on offense, look at the position players and who they have at the important positions and the kind of talent they will run out on to the field in just a few short weeks. That’s the kind of depth this team has been looking to have for a long time.
Watch them defensively. Watch guys like senior linebacker, Justin Benvie, and senior free safety Blake Harrington.
Watch them offensively and the arm they have at quarterback in junior Keegan Shoemaker, and the three-headed monster the Eagles have in the backfield with up and coming sophomore Reid Applewhite, junior Wayne Anderson Jr and senior Kaleb Adams.
There isn’t a team across the state of Texas that wouldn’t love to have that kind of talent in their backfield because the defense will never know who to key on. Especially when all three have different things they can do well and three guys who can make a big-time impact with the ball in their hands.
On September 1, the journey begins for a Prosper Eagles’ team looking to be the ones who change the future of the program as it heads into an amazing time in school history.
But the game can’t be played on paper. You can look up and down the roster and make any kind of prediction you want. But don’t be surprised if that prediction falls apart four to five weeks into the season, or just ask the Texas Rangers how things have gone for them this season after what they’ve done in the American League West each of the last two years.
You can’t play it on paper.
But that doesn’t mean you still can’t make a prediction based on what you already know and what you’ve already seen. There might be some newcomers to this roster but, for the most part, there are a lot of returning seniors who made impacts last season as well as returning starters who made people take notice early in the 2016 season.
That’s the information you take with you and put together a coherent position on how you feel any given team will finish the season.
While I certainly am not ready to call a complete sweep through district play, I will call them for the team I believe them to be.
What kind of team is that?
An eight-win team.
Yes, I believe they are that good and that ready to make their mark. It’s the year of the Eagle.
And this Eagle team will do a lot more than just spread their wings and fly.
Special to the Prosper Times