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Eagles ready for changes in 2014

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It was a rough and winless season for the Eagles in 2013, but with 2014 underway, Coach Paul Nappo expects better times for his squad.

“We feel pretty good right now,” he said. “We addressed a lot of issues.

“I took on the weight room myself; we got in there early last year and I think we had a very successful off season.”

Moving forward, Nappo says it’s all about his team changing as individuals.

“We want to change our perspective of ourselves; thinking positive about themselves,” he said. “We had a lot of positive work at a leadership camp … and I think everything has picked up since then.

“We were looking at ourselves and asked everybody to look at themselves and see what they could do to make the situation around them better.”

The team isn’t really focusing around any specific motto this season, but Nappo says they are commitment driven.

“We ordered commitment bracelets,” he said. “Whoever worse them, they have to do the best they could do in every phase of their life, whether it be school, work or at home.”

Nappo is excited about his team as a whole and says they are ready to tackle the Downriver League challenges.

“They really bought in (and) they’re really working hard,” he said. “I’ve got great leadership out of this class.”

And the Eagles aren’t focused on the losing ways of the past.

“I told them we could do this again; we’ll all beat our heads into the ground, or you guys can make a difference,” Nappo said. “And they’ve been working hard.

“We’ve got them going; we’ve got them working. We’re stronger, we’re bigger and hopefully we’re faster.”

Nappo said his team had created a lot of depth and believes his offensive line to be a strike this season.

“We’re looking at being two deep all the way across and solid in every position,” he said. “We’re trying to get as many people playing time as possible. The last couple of years we had good athletes, but they got worn out.”

Leading the offense will be senior Trevonn Terry (6-2, 170) at quarterback.

“He’s got experience and he’s pretty solid,” Nappo said. “He’s a great kid and he can do everything with our offense.”

Evan Chrzaszcz (6-0, 220) will be starting fullback and playing a role as captain for Kennedy this season.

Joining him as captain will be Britton Eugene (5-9, 175) at defensive back and Dylan Zackiewicz (5-9, 165) at linebacker.

Nappo says Zackiewicz, now a senior as well, has improved from when he was a freshman and had never played sports.

“Now he can go out and take a beating,” Nappo said. “He does a great job running the weight room when no one else would show up.

“He went from benching 60 pounds to 260 pounds (and) he earned it just from his work.

“We want effort (and) he’s an effort guy. He’s somebody we made captain for that reason.”

Nappo said he expects a lot from his senior class this season, as experienced veterans.

“Last year I had first-year seniors,” he said. “Now, I’m looking at third-year seniors that can play.”

The Eagles’ focus overall is similar to that of many teams; win the Downriver League.

“(But) saying that and doing that are two different things,” Nappo said. “There’s a lot of quality teams in our league.

“I think realistically, a playoff spot is something that we would like to see.”

The Eagles open the season with Carlson and Nappo said it’s a game his team yearns to win.

“I’m anticipating a tough game,” he said. “The last couple of years we didn’t play that well against them.

“That’s one thing that we are addressing is tackling and the defensive side of the ball.”

With each game in 2014, Nappo and his Eagles plan to look at it as a playoff game.

“You can’t overlook anybody,” he said. “You’ve got to play every game as if you’re in a playoff spot.

“We have a very quality league and there’s great coaches in our league. We’re just hoping we can become one of those teams as well.”

Last Updated: 8/26/2014 3:16:21 PM EST