2018 Vinemont Eagle football team with coaches and cheerleaders (Sullivan Photography)
VINEMONT – This fall will be a big one for the Vinemont Eagles. Coming off a 2-8 finish last season, the Eagles are waiting patiently for their chance to get back on the field and put 2017 behind them. Entering his second season as head coach, Stephen Robinson is pleased with how the summer went for the Eagles and wants to carry that momentum into fall camp.
“I feel the summer has really gone excellent for us. We’ve had great attendance all summer, had 40-plus at every workout, so it’s been very good,” Robinson said. “We’ve been to quite a few different seven-on-seven competitions and been competitive in all of those, so we’ve had a great summer as far as numbers and the kids getting stronger and getting some experience.”
Eleven seniors graduated from last year’s roster, but Robinson is optimistic about the players that he and his staff will have coming back. The Eagles averaged just 12 points per game on offense a year ago, so Robinson will expect more production from a lot of returning faces on offense, particularly up front and in the backfield.
“We really just needed stability at a couple of spots. Our quarterback situation is good with Jack (Hill) coming back and he’s had a very good summer. He’s matured, he’s throwing the ball very well and that will help us a lot. We’ve got probably the most depth right now that we’ve had since I’ve been around,” Robinson said. “We have a lot of depth at running back and really there isn’t much of a drop-off between those guys until you get six or seven deep at tailback and that’s a good problem to have. The experience of our offensive line is great too. We’ve got several guys coming back and of course we lost a couple last year, Nick Mann and Derrick Ransom. That hurt us, but we’ve had some guys really step in and do a great job. Anthony Brasher and Tanner Brown have had great summers, Dakota McGraw had a great summer and those three for sure are our leaders on the offensive line.”
With a handful on seniors spread across both sides of the ball, there will be some new faces that’ll have to step up for Vinemont this season or build off of their production from last year.
“Jack Hill is going to be big for us, Hudson Wood plays tight end and outside linebacker and he’s going to be big for us. Teague Whatley has had a great summer; he’s kind of a slot receiver, scat back kind of guy and he’s going to be doing a lot for us offensively and defensively as well. Dustin Moore will also be back for us and he’ll be big this year,” Robinson said. “We’ve got some guys on defense, too, like Travis Hopper that I think are going to start standing out for us, so we’ve got quite a few guys to watch this year. We’re still young, too. We’ve got eight seniors, and other than that we’re still pretty young on the field and I think a newcomer that’s going to help us out this year is Dalton Whitehead. He came in and had big spring, a big summer, and he’s one of those guys that hasn’t missed a workout so he’s being doing really well.”
Wood will be one of the eight seniors on the Eagles’ roster this fall and for him, the 2018 season will be about proving people wrong and exceeding expectations.
“We had a really good summer program this year and we’re just getting ready for the season. We went to a lot of seven-on-sevens and did really well competing in those this year, so we’ll be ready to go,” Wood said. “We just want to make a change and show that Vinemont isn’t the same as it used to be, and we want to go out and win every game and get to the playoffs. We didn’t have a good season last year, but we beat a couple of pretty good teams. Addison went pretty far in the playoffs in 2A, and I just think beating those teams shows that we can play with the best of them and we should do well this year.”
As a senior, Wood understands his role this season and believes it’s up to the seniors to set the tone for the rest of the team.
“We’ve just got to be leaders, both vocally and through actions,” Wood said. “I try and do that during every practice or seven-on-seven or workouts or anything we do.”
For Robinson and the Eagles, the goal is to win every Friday night, but 2018 will also be about changing the culture at Vinemont and becoming a more physical, disciplined and competitive program.
“Obviously we want to go out and win every game, but realistically, coming from where we’ve been the past few years and coming into my second year, our goal is to be the most physical team on the field and to be competitive in every game,” Robinson said. “We feel like we have a good chance to surprise some people this year. I think for us coaches, we just expect our kids to play harder than the other team and to be more physical, that’s what we want. Like I said, obviously we want to win every game, but we want to be competitive every week and we feel good about where we are. We feel good about our team’s attitude towards each other but also towards our competition. I think we’ve come a long way as far as the kids doing what the coaching staff expects them to do, so we’ll see. Honestly it all depends on if we keep working. If we keep working like we’re working, and we move into the season working that hard, we’re going to be OK. We’re just excited to get going.”
2018 Vinemont football schedule
Aug. 24 at East Lawrence
Aug. 31 v. Falkville
Sept. 7 v. Westbrook Christian
Sept. 14 at Midfield
Sept. 21 v. Hanceville
Sept. 28 at Addison
Oct. 5 v. Fultondale
Oct. 12 at Locust Fork
Oct. 19 v. J.B. Pennington
Oct. 26 at Holly Pond
Nov. 1 v. Cold Springs
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