Eagles ready to soar

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pleasant Home prepares Tuesday for their preseason jamboree in Mobile.

Pleasant Home prepares Tuesday for their preseason jamboree in Mobile.

Pleasant Home doesn’t start the regular season until next week, but the Eagles will get a test on Friday night when they travel down for preseason jamboree at Mobile Christian.

Pleasant Home will begin the jamboree against Millry at 6 p.m., Excel at 6:30 and 7:30 against Mobile Christian.

“These are all going to be well coached teams,” Pleasant Home head coach Chris Mason said. “This should give us a good feel for what we can do.”

Mason said he is looking for his Eagles to be more physical this Friday night than they have been in the past.

“We are going to be more physical this year,” Mason said. “That’s something that I’ve been challenging them. To finish every play. Any time you look at successful programs, they have players that finish, they are physical, they tackle well and block well.”

This time of year, Mason said he is looking for what all coaches are looking for.

“It’s what everyone else is looking for at this time of year,” Mason said. “I’m looking individually for who wants to be our playmaker and who wants to step up and be leader. Looking for someone who wants the ball and wants to find the end zone.”

While the team will still lean on the running game, Mason said he is hoping to open up the offense a little in the jamboree.

“We want to throw the ball and mix it up,” Mason said of Friday. “We are going to try to spread the field out and see if we can get in space. We have a few more athletes that we can use to try to create things in space. Execution is going to be key. When you are throwing the ball and your timing isn’t there it isn’t going to work. Our timing is getting there and I want to see how close we can get to mid-season form.”

Mason said the Eagles are still learning the new offense, but have made strides in the offseason.

“We want to be close to mid-season form, but this is a new offense for these guys,” Mason said. “We started it in the spring, and they guys have caught on to it pretty quick. We just have to secure the football. We cannot turn the football over, at all.”

Preparing for the jamboree has the Eagles looking at three teams.

“It’s a little different preparing for a jamboree,” Mason said. “Instead of one team, we are preparing for three. We had talks with the other coaches and they let us know generally what they are going to do. We want to make sure we are lined up correctly and pursue the ball. We are all just going to run base plays, so we pretty much know what the other teams are going to do.”

Mason said that the Eagles should match up well with the other teams in the jamboree.

“I think we will match up well with Millry and Excel,” Mason said. “Excel might have a little more speed, but I think Mobile Christian is going to be the dominate team. They have a really good coach there (Ronnie Cottrell). Coach Cottrell is well known for his time at Florida State and Alabama. All the teams here will be well coached, but Cottrell will be the most well known coach.”

Cottrell was a recruiting assistant at Florida State under Bobby Bowden before Mike Dubose brought him on at Alabama for the same position.

Last week, the rain kept the Eagles indoors for most of the week, and Mason said that they have been watching the guys closely this week after going back into the heat.

“We have just been watching them really close this week,” Mason said. “Just making sure they stay hydrated. We don’t really hit a whole lot in practice. We hit a little and thud, but the Alabama High School Athletic Associations guidelines are so tight, you can’t really do a lot of contact. I don’t have a problem with that.”

Mason said the limited contact does hinder the team’s ability to get in game condition.

“It hurts you to get in game shape as far as being physical,” Mason said. “We really won’t know just how physical of a team we will be until Friday night. That’s kind of what I’m looking for on Friday night just how are going to react to getting hit. We have some new kids out that haven’t played before and they haven’t gotten that pop yet. I’m waiting to see who is going to fight through that, and who might be a little more gun shy after that.”

The four teams will match up in 30 minutes contest.

Pleasant Home and Millry get the evening started off at 6 p.m.