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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Van Horn Eagles - Odessa American: Sports

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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Van Horn Eagles

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Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 12:00 am

VAN HORN Van Horn head coach Brock Tyrrell understands the challenge facing the Eagles during the upcoming season.

Not only will he look to improve on a team that finished 2-9 last season but he’ll have to do so being a little bit shorthanded.

The Eagles plan on suiting up 19 players by the time the first game kicks off against Fabens on Aug. 30.

Though the team may be lacking in numbers, Tyrrell says they can make up for that in other ways.

“With the numbers being at 19 right now, we want to make sure we stay healthy,” Tyrrell said. “The only way we’re going to do that is by staying in shape conditioning wise and strength wise.

“We’ve modified our workouts so that they are high intervals. We’re going to have to find a way to hang with those guys for all four quarters.”

Another strength the Eagles hope to lean on is experience.

Van Horn has nine seniors on the 2019 squad and 14 returners that earned varsity experience last year but missed time due to injury.

The low numbers can cause a bind for coaches in terms of depth but the players see it as a way to get more reps and improve over the course of a season.

“It helps a whole lot to have that experience,” said senior outside linebacker Timothy Virdell. “You have a better understanding of what you did and the mistakes you made and you know what to do to correct them.”

“Last year, we faced a lot of adversity and we we’re able to get through it,” said senior wide receiver Jonathan Corralez. “We can go through it again if we need to and stick together through the whole thing.”

From Tyrrell’s perspective, having that many players back makes it easier for him and his staff trying to implement a solid game plan every week.

“The senior leadership has really stood out so far,” Tyrrell said. “They’ve got leadership roles where we want them and they’re working really hard on showing the younger guys the expectations we have and those guys are buying in.”

One of the players hoping to benefit is sophomore wide receiver Jermaine Corralez. He understands his importance in the Eagles’ game plan this season and will lean on those upperclassmen to help him.

“It’s definitely a big role but I’ve learned a lot from the seniors just by how hard they work,” Corralez said.

That experience can also help the players move forward after a trying season a year ago. Going through that adversity is something that the team believes that they can use to its advantage.

“What we learned last year is that we can all play,” senior offensive lineman Cory Schuller said. “We all have skill and the ability to perform at the highest level that we can.

“The only thing that stopped us last year is that some of us didn’t get along or work together and we had a bunch of adversity with injuries.”

Tyrrell is pleased with the enthusiasm his team is showing through the first week of practice.

One of the big points of emphasis that he’s trying to hammer home is for his team to come together. He understands that’s the only way that the Eagles will make it through the course of the year and is doing everything he can to implement that cohesiveness and team unity.

“They’re excited about it,” Tyrrell said. “They know they’re going to get a lot of reps but they are committed to each other and are proud of the ones who are there. It’s a brotherhood with them and they know all you need is 11 and we’re glad we have 19. We have eight extra guys that we can fill in wherever and they are ready to go.”

The players have readily embraced Tyrrell’s challenge and share a similar sentiment knowing what they are up against as a team.

“It’s 11-on-11 when you’re on the field,” Virdell said. “Numbers don’t matter.

“It’s how hard you work on the field. We just have to work together, have some faith and just trust in each other.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

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