2018 H.S. Football Preview: Red Eddies hope winning breeds more winning

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EL quarterback Leighton Girardin tosses the ball to one of his runningbacks during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — As a three-year starter, Edward Little senior Kevin Lachance has experienced all of the Red Eddies’ recent ups and downs on the gridiron.

Lachance knows firsthand that both winning and losing can fuel more of the same, even in a short football season. Last season, EL was the most improved team in Class A North, vaulting from three wins to seven and the top seed in the region. That was much more to his and the rest of the Eddies’ liking. 

“It makes you want to work harder, and it makes you feel a whole lot better in practice,” Lachance said. 

The Red Eddies will try to keep that winning feeling after graduating the league’s top passer, Grant Hartley, the region’s player of the year, all-purpose threat Maxx Bell, and the team’s top rusher, Caden Begos, in addition to some other key contributors.

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Coach Dave Sterling is optimistic they not only have the talent but the experience and tenacity to make EL’s rise in the rankings more permanent.

“We’ve had a good younger group of kids to learn behind those three men,” Sterling said.

“We can build a lot off of last season,” he added. “Some of these guys got to experience some significant games that they had to pick up slack when people went down or do things that were outside their wheelhouse and did them exceptionally well.”

Team speed will be one of EL’s strengths this year, which will be evident with Hartley’s successor, senior Leighton Girardin.

“Leighton is definitely a lot more mobile and can open up a lot of opportunities with the run ,” said Josh Hamel, a returning starter at wide receiver. “He’s definitely a dual threat.”

Girardin and Sterling agreed the offense came a long way during 7-on-7 and other summer workouts.

“We have a lot of new kids stepping up in different positions. I think we’re going to be more of a team of speed and precision this year,” Girardin said. “I think we’re going to have just as good of a season as we did last year.”

The line lost some size but has Lachance, a three-year starter, Gunnar Winslow and Dawson Tracey back.

The defensive line should be fast and formidable with Lachance at the nose flanked by Tracey and Bobby Tremain. EL boasted the stingiest defense in Class A North last year, and with an all-new group of linebackers, the front and secondary will have to step up to keep it stout.

EL football player Kevin Lachance looks out onto the field before the start of Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

One of the assistant coaches for EL who played for the Eddies last year, Latrell Thomas, is back to help.(Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

EL quarterback Leighton Girardin throws a pass during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

EL quarterback Leighton Girardin prepares to ward off a tackle during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

EL quarterback rolls out for a pass during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

The offensive line gets set during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Coach Sterling introduces his assistants prior to the start of Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Players check their play cards during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

EL coach Dave Sterling watches a play during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Longtime EL assistant coach Dale Brown, who coached many current players when they were in youth football, gives one of his players a pointer during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A running back carries the ball around the end during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

EL quarterback Leighton Girardin throws a pass during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Josh Hamel is tackled during Friday’s scrimmage at Walton Field in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

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