How could two Friday nights end exactly the same way but feel so much different from one another?
When the Prosper Eagles left the field after a season opening win over Birdville last season, a hard fought win at that, it was a gratifying one but the feeling of an uphill climb was still there and certain challenges still had to be overcome.
This past Friday, after a more dominant 35-10 win over the same Birdville ball club, there was a very different feel in the air. While new head coach Chris Ross won’t let his players get too far ahead of themselves or get too high on what kind of team they think they are after one game, there’s still more anticipation and excitement in the city of Prosper than there was this time last year.
No one expects them to do much of anything. In fact, Matt Diggs of Scout.com picked the Eagles to finish dead last in district 10-5A so there’s nothing more to do than exceed those expectations.
What do I believe to be true?
When the Texas Rangers got ready to begin their 2015 season, almost everyone in the national, and some in the local, media didn’t think this team could get more than 82 wins and there were those who didn’t know if 75 was a reachable number. Some articles cited the injuries of the season before, the loss of Yu Darvish for 2015, and not knowing what the team would get from Prince Fielder or Shin-Soo Choo.
I never agreed with their assessment and I don’t agree with assessment of a last place finish for the Prosper Eagles. I certainly won’t predict that they’ll win what should be a very talented district top to bottom but I certainly don’t think they’ll finish dead last either. What I’ve heard from different people who are close to the team, and who get to see what happens on a daily basis, I believe that there will be a very different outcome than what transpired last season.
Let’s not forget the amount of injuries this team went through, not to mention using four different quarterbacks before the season was over.
It’s not much different from where the Rangers came from to where they are now. They overcame the injuries from last season, they’ve overcome losing their best pitcher for the season, being without their second best pitcher for almost three-quarters of the season, and are currently sitting in second place in their division with a firm grasp of the second wild card spot in the American League.
The questions surrounding the Eagles still have a lot to do with overcoming injuries and believing how good they can be. The one reason to believe they can do just that is the man who runs the program and the man who has pushed them harder than they’ve been pushed before.
Coach Ross expects greatness and, so far, he’s gotten a great effort from them right out of the gate.
It is one game and there’s no more to be learned from one game than there would be a scrimmage before the regular season gets started. The test for this team continues this coming Friday as they’ll face a Justin Northwest squad that will give them a very different look than that of Prosper’s first opponent.
Instead of having to deal with a speed back in Cameron Hollie, they’ll have the passing attack of Northwest quarterback Hunter Johnson who threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns against Corsicana last week not to mention the 4.4 speed of wide receiver Gavin Holmes who had 219 yards receiving and two touchdowns this past week.
These two teams met last season at AT&T Stadium and the Eagles could not stop the arm of quarterback Jesse Drummer, who has since moved on to Angelo State, and wide receiver Emmanuel Moore, who is now playing for the Kansas Jayhawks. This will be a good test for the Prosper Eagles to see just how improved they are as a team.
Winning the first game of the season doesn’t guarantee them a victory, far from it.
But something tells me they won’t need to win this coming Friday to know just how good they are. If they do win, however, it may change the opinion of the media pundits very quickly and a moment we may all be talking about for the remainder of the season.
You can predict something based on what you see on paper, there are a lot of people who love to make predictions, but the game isn’t played on paper. You might think the team is overachieving, but more times than not it’s just playing better than the piece of paper that sits in front of you indicated. The same was true for the Texas Rangers and it holds true for Prosper as well.
One win does not a season make. But it will continue to build the momentum that began on Friday night. They just need to do it one game at a time.