Heading into its season opener at home, a revamped East Jackson football program will look to end a 17-game losing streak at the expense of Banks County.
The Eagles and Leopards have many similarities heading into their contest as both teams struggled last season and are hungry for a win. Both programs are also under reconstruction by new head coaches entering the season.
East Jackson coach Gary Hughes is confident his Eagles are ready to play, but admitted that there is some mystery surrounding both teams.
“Are we prepared for what we are going to see?” Hughes asked. “We think we are, but you don’t have much of a history to go by with both coaching staffs being new.”
Still Hughes thinks that the Leopards will be a good matchup to get the season rolling.
“I think the two teams are fairly evenly matched,” Hughes said. “It’s really going to come down to execution and performance. We can’t make mistakes. We need to execute, do what we do, and keep them from doing what they do.”
The Eagles hold a 3-2 lead in their series with Banks County, but were ousted 46-30 in last year’s season opener at Leopard Stadium. This year, East Jackson hopes to use home-field advantage to give the Eagles a boost.
Hughes noted that Banks County is a traditionally physical team and will match up well with the Eagles up front.
“They are physical,” Hughes said. “They have always been, and I don’t think that’s going to change. I think coach Parson has done a great job with those guys. They are very sound in what they do in every phase of the game.”
Hughes believes the key to an East Jackson victory is simply eliminating mistakes in a game where two teams are so evenly matched.
“We have to make sure that we are sound and that we can execute,” he said. “It’s going to be one of those kind of ballgames where the team that makes the fewest mistakes is the team that can pull this thing off.”
East Jackson kicks the season off on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Stadium.
“I think we are (ready to go),” Hughes said. “I think everybody, at this time of year, has hope and aspirations. It’s an exciting time. Everyone’s got a new lease on life and that’s part of the deal. You don’t really know how you’re going to end up in 10 or 11 weeks from now, but we are absolutely excited now.”