It was difficult for Eisenhower football coach Marc Marinelli to be patient as his team struggled through a 2-7 season.
But every time he felt discouraged on a Friday night, there was a pick-me-up the following Monday.
The Tigers’ junior varsity and freshmen teams combined to lose three games last season and Marinelli is looking forward to utilizing many of those players on the varsity level this season.
“We are really fortunate to have a talented group of young kids,” Marinelli said. “These kids have confidence after spending all of last year winning non-varsity games.
“I was never going to play a sophomore over a senior just because. I wanted those kids to experience success before they played with us.”
Eisenhower has a wealth of skilled players, led by slot back Bailey Strunk, who had 1,000 total yards last season.
But where Marinelli is most encouraged is by the play of his offensive line, which was, at times, overmatched last season.
“Our offensive line has grown in so many ways this summer,” Marinelli said. “We went to team camps and then did some scrimmages with Andale and Garden Plain and they held their own. They’ve improved so much in such a short time. We’re really excited.”
Marinelli thinks it isn’t far-fetched for Eisenhower to not only make the playoffs, but to even win its district.
The three teams in the Tigers’ district – Arkansas City, Liberal and Goddard – were a combined 10-18 last season.
“Our goal is to win our district,” Marinelli said. “Our focus is to be playing our best in that time of the year.”
TOP SKILL PLAYERS
|Sept. 5||at Andover|
|Sept. 19||at Maize South|
|Sept. 26||Salina Central|
|Oct. 3||Andover Central|
|Oct. 9||Valley Center|
|Oct. 17||at Liberal|
|Oct. 24||at Arkansas City|
|Oct. 31||at Goddard|
Josh Fatkin on his team