Eagles look to bounce back

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It hasn’t been the way the Pleasant Home Eagles (0-4, 0-2) wanted to the season, but the they look to get back on the right path when they hit the road Friday night for a non-region game against J.U. Blacksher (3-1, 3-0).

The Eagles started heading in the right direction last week, after narrowly losing to Class 1A, Region 2 rival Kinston. Eagles’ head coach Chris Mason said that the Eagles still have a lot of improving to do, and must learn to hold on to the football.

Last Friday, it was turnovers that doomed the Eagles as they turned the ball over three times inside the red zone, including once inside the 10-yard line.

“We tackled better last week,” Mason said. “All season long, we have been in position to make plays, and last week we finished off plays with tackles. Now, we have to work on protecting the football.”

As for J.U. Blacksher, this will be the sixth time that the Eagles and Bulldogs have met, with J.U. Blacksher leading the all-time series 4-1. Last season, J.U. Blacksher defeated the Eagles 35-21.

Mason said that the Bulldogs have some talent at the skill position, but they also have a young offensive line.

“The have a good quarterback and some good skill guys,” Mason said. “Where we will try to take advantage is on their young offensive line.”

The Bulldogs won three-straight contest to begin the 2015 season with victories over Red Level, J.F. Shields and Fruitdale before getting their first loss of the season to Chickasaw last week.

“Both of us are coming off tough losses,” Mason said. “They had a couple touchdowns called back, and we left three on the table last week. There will be a lot of emotion in the game, and it will show who can bounce back.”

Mathematically, the Eagles still have a chance at the playoffs, but must win at least three of their last four region games.

One thing that is holding the Eagles back is lack of leadership, Mason said.

“We’ve got guys that do the right things and are always on time,” Mason said, “but we need to find those guys who are going to step up and lead this team. We have them here, I know we do. I can’t always be the one that speaks up when things get down. If you look at all the good teams, they all have a vocal leader. At some point, the kids have to step up and say they are tired of losing and do something about it.”

Another thing that the Eagles have been working on is ball security.

“We have to learn how to take care of the ball,” Mason said. “The past two weeks that has been a big problem for us.”

Kickoff between the Bulldogs and the Eagles will be at 7 p.m.