After a long, football-related conversation, Grain Valley coach Jimmy Tucker summarizes the Eagles' prospects as one on the brink of doing something special. In the meantime, however, he reminds himself to stay patient.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Grain Valley has pushed its roster to 112 players, but for the second straight season, that number doesn't include many seniors. There are eight, to be exact.
"This is two small senior classes back to back, so it's been tough," Tucker said. "The key for us is going to be getting better week to week, in which we should become a good team. If we don't, we may struggle."
The Eagles have only three starters returning on both offense and defense.
Two skill players lead the way -- senior wide receiver Hunter Ramirez and running back Bryce Quinn. Ramirez recorded 780 receiving yards a year ago, and Tucker refers to him as a crucial player in the Eagles' move to the spread offense. Quinn started a handful of games at running back last season.
The defense turns to junior linebacker Brenton Leighow, who was a full-time starter as a sophomore. He is the top returning tackler from the team that finished 2-8.
"He's a smart football player who lines up our defense, and now he has some experience," Tucker said. "We're hoping he can help us have a big year.
"The important thing for us is our defensive line is young, but they're going to have to play big for us to have a chance."