Head coach Josh Buford understands that his team is still young, with some new offensive faces, but he feels like the toughness of his players at Excelsior Springs will give them a chance in the Missouri River Valley Conference.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I feel like we know who our starters are going to be and now we're trying to figure out who our backups are and create some competition,” Buford said.
For the Tigers, it’s all about establishing the running game with Tyler Eddington, a senior tailback poised for another round of ground and pound.
“He’s going to carry the ball a lot for us this year,” Buford said.
For Buford it’s also about getting the ball into playmakers hands, which includes junior Sam Webb. He is listed as an athlete on the roster. Buford does that because he receives the ball not just as a receiver, but in the backfield and anywhere else on the field.
“We’re going to do a lot of stuff with him offensively,” Buford said. “He’s a special player.”
Implementing the 3-3 stack defense continues to be one of the biggest strengths. Sophomores Conner Creason and Mason Moreland help lead the stability in the middle. Senior Gage Beaman also will contribute at linebacker.
“They all run to the ball well and they really command our defense,” Buford said. “Those guys all need to be on the field at once.”
Buford, though, recognizes the challenges.
“I think our younger kids know that we’re a year or two away from being really special, but they also have an itch because we won our first playoff game since 2000,” Buford said. “This group has had the taste of playoff football. Our expectation is that we get back there.”