PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - For the last six seasons, the Resurrection Catholic Eagles have played bigger than their 1A classification. Since 2014, the Eagles have been one of the top teams in their region, making six straight playoff appearances. Last year’s 9-3 run can be credited by the new direction being taken by longtime coast coach, Lavon Capers.
“I think we clicked. We did have a really good group of seniors last year and that always helps whenever you’re coming in as a first year coach at a new program,” Capers told WLOX.
“To come in and have some veteran leadership, some guys to get in your corner and really help out the younger guys. The players and coaches made it very easy for me.”
What won’t be easy is filling the void of that veteran leadership as the team returns just four seniors on their 28-man roster. Capers, however, isn’t worried as his underclassmen saw plenty of live action.
“We played a lot of sophomores last year that are now juniors and so those guys have experience and of course our juniors played, the guys who are seniors now, played last year,” Capers said. “Even though we’re young as far as seniors go, we do still have some experience coming back.”
“Making big plays. Like standing out, making those big plays when big plays need to be made,” senior linebacker, defensive lineman, and fullback Sage Neron said. “You know the saying big time players make big time plays? All four of us seniors and even the juniors got to do that this season for us to go far.”
Over 85 percent of Resurrection’s scores in 2019 came from toting the rock, but the Eagles know once they have a solid attack through the air, they’ll be even more dynamic.
“We were extremely run heavy, had some really big running backs. We’re trying real hard to develop our passing game a little bit more,” Capers explained. “It’s coming along, we’re doing a good job with it, but it’s not where it needs to be.”
With four of their five starting offensive linemen coming back, the team will rely heavily on junior Riley Matthews to make things happen in year two as the starting quarterback.
“I worked on some arm strength, a lot of footwork. I just need to get quicker, rotate in the pocket and stuff,” Matthews told WLOX.
“I want to be a leader for the younger kids. I want to do great, work hard, and be a leader on the team.”
With the MHSAA pushing the regular season back and the pandemic not going anywhere anytime soon, the Eagles lost two games - a home date against North Forrest on August 21st and an away trip to Northlake Christian in Covington, Louisiana on September 4th. Capers told WLOX that they have just added an away game against Bogue Chitto to their schedule to start the season on the fourth.
Senior Sage Neron said that the late start will give the Eagles more time to work and more time to get even better.