As spring practice began, new Prosper Eagle head coach Chris Ross admitted that he pushed his players hard but that they showed just how much they wanted a change from what transpired last season.
When you talked to parents of different players, they’ll tell you as much but they’ll also tell you that every player on that roster was responding to Coach Ross and the entire coaching staff. They believe what most didn’t think was possible. They believe how good they can be with a roster not much different from the one that finished the 2014 season.
But that’s not their strongest asset in what has been a huge turnaround. They have a coach who believes with them and a coaching staff who has them ready to run through whatever walls lay in front of them. He seems greatness in them and his players have responded with one big effort, one big defensive stop, after another.
And so does the town of Prosper.
Sure they might be one of the fastest growing towns in the metroplex, or perhaps even the state of Texas, but they are still the once proud small town that has seen their school, and their football program, grow from a 3A champion, to a team on the brink of moving into the top division of high school football — 6A.
It might be a few years away, but the team is playing like they want to be taken seriously. They are playing like they have forgotten about last season and the losses that racked up before they knew what hit them. The only people that haven’t forgotten are those that continue to look at a roster, and a season gone by, and predict doom and gloom for 2015 team that has looked anything but.
Despite that. They believe.
They were predicted to finish dead last in their district before this season began, so they went out and dominated a good Birdville team that had made the playoffs in back-to-back years.
They were the underdog heading into their home opener against Justin Northwest, and they promptly won that game too. Getting a little payback from a Texan team that thoroughly beat the Eagles at AT&T Stadium in 2014.
One year later, back at the stadium with the star on the middle of the field, the Prosper Eagles get set to face a Highland Park team that lost at home for the first time in 84 games this past week. They will be looking to get back on the right track and back in the win column, against an Eagles team they dominated last season.
And, just like in week’s past, Prosper isn’t favored in this game and I doubt many outside of the town itself believe this team can come away with a win. Except for the team wearing the green and white.
A win would do something for the Eagles that hasn’t been done in quite some time. It would make a bold statement that this season is going to be far and away different from the ones they’ve experienced the last few years. A bold statement that there are so many things that are different about this team, and this roster, and that there is greatness no one expected to see so early in the season.
But it also might be a bold statement to themselves that they can contend in a district that, top to bottom, should be one tough week after another. It doesn’t start there this week. They have one more test to get past before a bye week to give them extra time to get ready for a stretch ride to the ultimate goal and a place where the school’s baseball team stood just a few months ago.
They are a long ways from there. But the team, and their new head coach, are doing the one thing that matters the most.