• September 21, 2020

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2020: Van Horn Eagles - Odessa American: Football

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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2020: Van Horn Eagles

Van Horn making the transition to Class 1A (six-man) football

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  • Switching things up

    Van Horn's football field has undergone a change to accommodate the switch to six-man.

Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 7:30 am

VAN HORN It’s a whole new ball game for the Van Horn football team.

Head coach Brock Tyrrell and his players eager for the new challenges.

The Eagles are in transition mode this season, moving down to Class 1A (six-man) from the 11-man level during the offseason.

Getting used to the new format is going to take some adjusting, according to Tyrrell.

“Our kids are taking it in stride,” Tyrrell said. “It’s a great experience for them to learn something new.

“We have a great staff and they’re doing their absolute best and we’re going to give our best effort.”

Usually when a team drops down a classification, there is cause for optimism.

In Van Horn’s case, Tyrrell knows the Eagles will be facing other schools that have been playing much longer at the six-man level.

That will especially be true when it comes time to begin district play, but it’s a situation that Tyrrell and his players are looking forward to.

“That puts us behind the ball a little bit but I prefer us to be the underdog going into any game,” Tyrrell said. “So we’re going to compete and it’s going to be exciting because it’s going to be new for us but not a challenge that we’re afraid of.”

The Eagles will be in a four-team district with Fort Davis, Marfa and Buena Vista.

Adding to the optimism, Van Horn does return six starters on both sides of the ball.

“We have several that return on this team,” Tyrrell said. “We lost nine seniors from last year but we have some great seniors.

Quarterback Jermaine Corralez and wide receiver Bryce Virdell are among the players to watch and offensive and defensive lineman Alexis Flores also comes back.

“We have some great young players who can step up for us as well,” Tyrrell said.

The Eagles are coming off a 6-6 record from last season that included a run to the area round of the playoffs.

Corralez, along with his teammates, has quickly been figuring out his team’s new style of play.

“It’s been pretty hard to switch offenses but we’re learning and we’ll get the hang of it by the time the season starts,” Corralez said.

Flores echoed his teammate’s thoughts.

“We’re learning new plays and positions,” Flores said. “Everything is a little faster. We’re a little slow right now but we’ll get the hang of it.”

It’s one thing to adjust from the 11-man game. It’s another matter to do it quickly.

While most of the state started practicing on August 3, the Van Horn players didn’t take the field until Aug. 24 because of COVID-19 restrictions in Culberson County.

Getting the players up to speed has been the name of the game.

“We’ve had a feeling of anxiousness and getting ready to go, especially since everyone else has already started,” Tyrrell said. “But we’re not forcing the issue or cramming too much at the players. We’re going to use the games that we play before district to help us get ready.”

The Eagles will get a little bit of time to prepare before their first game when they face Sanderson in their season opener on Friday.

As for the players, it’s just felt good to finally get practices underway.

“I’ve really been missing football since we ended last year,” Corralez said. “Since we lost last year, we’ve been really eager to get back.”

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