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No playoffs for Eagles

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River misses out on big dance

By Mike Forster

 

There was nothing preordained about Staunton River's game with Alleghany.

There was, however, knowledge aforehand that it would be the Eagles' final game of the season, a chance at a playoff shot having been trod into the turf at Rockbridge two weeks before.

That evening, the Eagles fell to the Wildcats, 24-21, on a Rockbridge field goal which was made on the very last play of the game.

That left the Rivermen with a mark of 2-6.  Even if they'd been able to upset Lord Botetourt and close out with a win over Alleghany, they'd have still finished out of the money in the playoff race.

"It was a year of missed opportunities," said River Head Coach Chuck Poston.  "And it was a year of starting over."

Undoubtedly, it was a disappointing season for Poston, who failed to lead the Eagles into the playoffs for the second time in his four years at the helm.

Still, had his charges found success, it would have come despite:

1.  Losing 24 seniors from the 2012 team to graduation.

The Eagles had the vast majority of players this year in positions they'd not started in last season.  

Many had to step into new roles and responsibilities, particularly on the lines.

2. Installing a completely new offense.  With the unbalanced single wing, Poston threw an odd bird at his kids:  an offense that doesn't have a quarterback and deals in misdirection.

At times, the single wing seemed to confuse opponents.  At other times, its reliance on running (to the detriment of a pass game) hurt the Eagles.

3. Dealing with an injury bug.  Starting with the loss of star back Deshawn Martin for the first half of the year, the Eagles seemed jinxed with a bug that afflicted critical players each and every game.

It is fair to state that the Eagles were never, ever at full strength this year.

But next year already beckons.  The good news is that every player at every level of the Staunton River program has spent a year with the single wing.  In fact, the JV rang up a mark of 7-3 and the B-Team went 6-2 in the new system.

Once again, the team will graduate a goodly amount of talent.  But what remains could be the foundation for great strides in the future.