PREP FOOTBALL: Eagles looking to correct mistakes, make playoff push in 2019

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The Vinemont Eagles will host East Lawrence for a jamboree game Friday night before travelling to Falkville next week to kick off the regular season. (Team photo: Sullivan Photography. Bottom photos: Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

VINEMONT, Ala. — Head coach Stephen Robinson is entering his third season with the Eagles and in that time, he’s established strong relationships with his players, and he believes that will help their chemistry this upcoming season.

“I just love these guys. These guys are what makes it fun for me, being around them and just having the camaraderie that we have as a team,” Robinson said. “We’ve got 13 seniors and it’s kind of an anomaly because every senior that we have contributes. 12 of them start and every one of them contributes so that’s an awesome situation to be in for us.”

One of those seniors, Travis Hopper, will unfortunately not be able to contribute between the lines this season. Hopper suffered a head injury in July that will force him into something of a coaching role for the Eagles this year, but Robinson knows that he’ll be an asset on the sidelines for Vinemont even if he’s not in the starting lineup.

 “Obviously one of the biggest losses ever is Travis. Because of his injury, he’s not going to be able to play this year so that’s a huge loss to our team but I know Travis will find a spot out there and get on to people and I told him the other day that we just gained a new coach,” Robinson said. “That’s how it feels so he’s going to have his role and I’m sure he’ll do a great job at that.”

Hopper is disappointed that he won’t be able to contribute on the field as much as he would like this fall but is still looking forward to seeing what he and his team can accomplish after the work they’ve put in to prepare.

“We’ve been working really hard all summer to get ready for this point and it’s always been a dream for us since we were younger to be senior leaders out on the field and seeing what’s going to happen,” Hopper said. “I think everything happens for a reason and even though this happened, I still want to be part of the team and help as much as I can. I think we’re going to do great things.”

One of the guys that will be missing from last year’s squad, Dustin Moore, will certainly be missed in the starting lineup and on the stat sheet but Robinson has been happy to see several young guys step during the offseason. The size of the Eagles’ roster this fall will also give Robinson and his staff some options when filling out their offensive and defensive lineups.

 “One of our biggest losses from last year was just a playmaker. We lost Dustin (Moore) and as far as output and stats-wise, he was one of our biggest guys so we’re just getting guys to try and fill that role. We’ve actually got some sophomores that have stepped up this year and it’s possible we could start three sophomores on offense in a skill position. According to how we are on that, we’re really looking at two-platooning,” Robinson said. “It’s very possible for us to have nine people on the field that are only one-way players and if we can do that in 3A that’s huge. Of course, we have to be confident in those guys, but we feel confident in what we have right now. We’ve had Gabe Friedrich really step up, he’s a sophomore. Marcus Callingwood has really stepped up; Colby Miller has stepped up and Colby may also start on defense so he might not start on offense, but we’ve still got a long way to go to see how the react in game-like situations.”

Robinson took time to point out one senior in particular that his impressed him this offseason and believes his work ethic represents a positive attitude within the program.

“As far as putting in work between our last snap last year and the start of camp, there probably aren’t many people in this state that have put in more time than Dallin Dinkle,” Robinson said. “You see him on Saturday mornings up there running bleachers by himself, after school he’ll pull up to the field house out there by himself and sometimes, he has a buddy with him or another player so that’s encouraging. When you get kids that start doing that kind of work, and he’s not the only one. A lot of these guys have been around to camps in state and out of state at different colleges and things so when you get kids to start buying in for their own good and the team’s good, everything kind of starts to change.”

The Eagles lost some tight games last season in which they put themselves into position to win but couldn’t seal the deal. Coach Robinson chalks those losses up to critical mistakes at critical times and when you play a tough schedule, those mistakes cost even more. After learning those lessons in 2018, Robinson is excited to see his team take that experience to the field this season.

“Last year if you look back, we had some key turnovers that cost us some wins, it really did. Everything we do is kind of based on timing, like a lot of teams, so everything we do is kind of based on that. If you take away those mistakes we had last year, our record is a lot different. We were in the game with some very tough teams last year. I think seven of the 10 teams we played made the playoffs,” Robinson said. “Our guys see the hard work that we put in and how it changed stuff last year on Friday nights and to work as hard as they worked and then have a mental mistake cost you, it bites them just like it bites me. That’s what I love about these guys is it’s not just the coaches that are out there upset about it, the kids are too. That’s how I know that we are getting to where we need to be.”

Vinemont (Class 3A, Region 5)

2018 record: 3-7 (1-5)

Opponents Record: 67-44

Averaged 20.9 points per game, allowed 28 points per game.

0-4 record on the road, 3-3 record at home. Missed postseason. Finished season with 34-0 win over Cold Springs.

Stephen Robinson entering third season as head coach.

Departing seniors: Hudson Wood, Dustin Moore, Adam Ray, Cameron Carter, Issac Smith, Jordan Terry, Mitch Ford, Jimmy Bozard, Keith Brasher, Blake Ray, Nate England.

2019 Schedule

Aug. 30th – @ Falkville

Sep. 6th – @ Westbrook Christian

Sep. 13th – vs. Midfield *

Sep. 20th – @ Hanceville *

Sep. 27th – vs. Addison

Oct. 4th – @ Fultondale *

Oct. 11th – vs. Locust Fork *

Oct. 18th – @ JB Pennington *

Oct. 25th – vs. Holly Pond *

Oct. 31st – @ Cold Springs

Vinemont Varsity Cheerleaders

Emily Cheatwood – Co-Captain, Kinlee Puckett, IdaLee Greer, Madelyn Oden, Berkley Gable and Macie Dyer, Della Hand, Elton Eagle, Bailey Preiss – Captain, Sadie Stanley, Alexis Holmes, Brylie Teichmiller, Bella Gingrich and Savannah Mann.

2019 Vinemont Football Roster

No.      Name                          Grade

1          Travis Hopper             12

2          Lucas Miller                12

3          Wyatt Thomason         12

4          Jack Hill                      12

6          Dalton Whitehead       12

7          Daniel Flores-Carreno 12

8          Colby Miller                10

9          Teague Whatley          12

10        Carson Greer               11

11        Gabe Friedrich            10

12        Bryce Perkins              12

15        Jarrett Friedrich           10

16        Ayden Thomason        9

17        Marcus Callingwood 10

18        Nathan Whitney          10

20        Chandler Reese           11

23        Ryan Stewart              9

24        Dallin Dinkle              12

25        Dylan Crider               11

30        Chandler Graves         10

31        Jonathan Faulkner       10

32        Isaac Moody               9

33        Dalton Thomason        9

34        Jake Griggs                 12

35        Justin Marotz              10

40        Kylan Richards           10

42        Nacho Salgado            11

44        Yair Jimenez               10

45        Jose Perales                 11

50        Symon Joiner              9

51        Luke Gay                    9

52        Braden Boner              10

54        Ethan Gay                   10

55        Brodie Curvin             11

56        Keith Slaton                10

57        Tyler Brown                12

60        Eli Chambers              12

61        Tyler Mayfield            10

62        Tyler Black                 11

63        Ethan Martin               11

65        Jake Gustafson            9

68        JP Johnson                  10

71        Chayce Sandlin           9

72        JoJo England               11

74        Isaiah Young               11

75        Matthew Barnes          11

76        Ryan Isbell                  11

77        Caleb Butler                11

78        Alex Salazar                9

79        Dakota McGraw         12

81        Easton Whatley           10

84        Julius Baker                10

88        Tanner Brown             11

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