Prosper Eagles: Blinders Not Required

John Brannon (left) and Trent Owens (right) lead a talented roster returning for the 2016 season (Image: Prosper Football)

More times than not there’s not much difference from one year to the next. More times than not history repeats itself especially if adjustments and changes are never made.

For the Prosper Eagles, those adjustments and changes were made but there are some who only look at the box score and scoreboard and judge the team based on what they see on a website or in yellow lights.

That’s what a lot of sports fans do with their favorite teams. There’s no reason to look behind the scoreboard and deeper into the numbers to see how different things really are. It’s why I took the time to sit down late into a Saturday night and run the numbers to show those non-believers just how much things have changed from 2014 to 2015 with this Prosper Eagles football program.

So, for this article only, unless I really open your eyes, go ahead and leave the blinders on the table and keep an open mind. I just might convert you into believing that things really are going to be okay.

Let’s start by looking at the 2014 season and where this team was on defense.

Margin of Loss Total Yards Against Rushing Passing
34 ppg 446.7 221.5 225.2

In seven losses in 2014, the Eagles were getting beaten by 34 points per game on average including two losses by 40 or more points, 500 or more total yards of offense three times, and 300 or more rushing yards in a game twice.

Let’s fast forward to this season and through eight games I’m about to show you just how different things are and how much improvement there’s been under first year head coach Chris Ross and his coaching staff.

Margin of Loss Total Yards Against Rushing Passing
9.75 352.1 140.9 211.3

In their four losses this season they had a chance to turn three of those into wins including almost knocking off the top dog in the district, Wylie East, in a game where they were 30 point underdogs, and putting together an almost improbable come from behind win against a good 6A program in Highland Park and coming this close to knocking off Lovejoy in almost impossible game conditions. To go from being out of every single game they were losing to looking at seven wins if the ball bounces just a little differently.

Their total yards per game against has dropped by 94.6 yards per game, rushing yards per game against has decreased 80.6 yards per game, and passing yards per game against has dropped 13.9 yards per game. How many teams can say they’ve dropped in every category across the board in just a single year?

In 2014, the Prosper Eagles had established themselves as more of a passing team than they were a running team but even then their numbers weren’t great.

Margin of Victory Total Yards Rushing Passing
18.3 314.2 139.4 174.8

When you look at a box score of a high school team you’re used to seeing 400 yards of total offense or more week in and week out. Prosper only did that twice last season (Lovejoy, McKinney). A year later they’ve doubled that amount through their first eight games and doing something they didn’t do all of last season, finishing a game with 500 total yards or more. They accomplished that feat against Highland Park at AT&T Stadium earlier this season.

A year later, those offensive numbers are also up in every category but passing yards because of how much this team, as well as a lot of other high school football teams, focuses on the run game.

Margin of Victory Total Yards Rushing Passing
23.25 388.6 272.8 115.9

The one number that should jump out at you is their rushing yards per game from last year to this year, it’s up over 130 yards per game (133.4).

Want game by game numbers? I’m glad you asked. Here are the numbers on defense against each opponent from last season to this season.

Year Opponent Total Yards Against Rushing Passing
2014 Birdville 344 237 107
2015 Birdville 197 108 89
2014 Northwest 485 146 339
2015 Northwest 337 107 230
2014 Highland Park 498 152 346
2015 Highland Park 490 93 397
2014 Sherman 140 61 79
2015 Sherman 157 56 101
2014 McKinney North 491 298 193
2015 McKinney North 494 297 197
2014 Wylie East 584 364 220
2015 Wylie East 454 284 170
2014 Wylie 477 327 150
2015 Wylie 394 147 247
2014 Lovejoy 620 250 370
2015 Lovejoy 294 35 259
2014 McKinney 300 63 237
2015 McKinney ? ? ?
2014 Denison 528 317 211
2015 Denison ? ? ?

Now here are the numbers on offense from 2014 to 2015 against each opponent.

Year Opponent Total Offense Rushing Passing
2014 Birdville 366 126 240
2015 Birdville 441 317 124
2014 Northwest 369 184 185
2015 Northwest 387 321 66
2014 Highland Park 168 85 83
2015 Highland Park 501 312 189
2014 Sherman 340 186 154
2015 Sherman 452 203 249
2014 McKinney North 298 85 213
2015 McKinney North 217 152 65
2014 Wylie East 279 115 164
2015 Wylie East 328 278 50
2014 Wylie 249 106 143
2015 Wylie 456 331 125
2014 Lovejoy 404 217 187
2015 Lovejoy 327 268 59
2014 McKinney 464 145 319
2015 McKinney ? ? ?
2014 Denison 205 145 60
2015 Denison ? ? ?

Coach Ross has won and succeeded everywhere he’s been and Prosper will be no exception. It won’t just take one year but the results will come.

This 2015 Prosper Eagles matched last season’s win total (3) in just their first four games of the season, they’ve eclipsed that win total, and had the possibility of being a seven win team at this point in the season. Things didn’t go their way, but to not see any improvement in this team because of their record on a piece of paper or the scores on the scoreboard means you aren’t giving this the perspective that it deserves.

Look at the wins over Justin Northwest, the almost impossible come from behind win over Highland Park, and almost pulling off an improbable upset over Wylie East should tell you how different the mindset, and effort, is with this team. The players have bought in to what Coach Ross and his staff are preaching and that message is simple.

“We Believe in You.”

The Eagles have two games remaining (McKinney, Denison) on their 2015 schedule and they won’t be easy wins but they still have the chance to control their own playoff destiny if they can win out and put their win total at 6.

I watch enough film to see the differences in the way this team plays from one year to the next and I see the potential and talent this team has going into the 2016 season and beyond.

Look at the players Prosper will have coming back next season including experience at quarterback with Easton Murrell and a three-headed monster at running back with Kaleb Adams, Justin Benvie and Austin Lind, all of who have shown flashes of being extremely talented and capable of handling the position when called upon. Not to mention an offensive line led by center Travis Daft

On defense they’ll have John Brannon, a legit Division-I talent at linebacker, leading a solid defensive core along Trent Owens, Dalton Splawn, Blake Herrington, Jalen Ball and talented defensive end Cade McBride.

The Prosper football program may be three years away from moving into the 6A ranks, something that might scare some people, but if you see what’s coming up behind the seniors you might be thinking a little differently.

Things haven’t gone their way this season and the ball hasn’t bounced their way more than a few times. But there is improvement in the numbers, there’s improvement in their overall record, and there’s improvement in the way the players play the game on the field.

That alone should be enough to believe in what’s to come. The city of Prosper should be excited about what their football program is capable of in the season’s to come because the years of winning just three games a year is going to change and there will be a lot to celebrate.

Numbers don’t tell you everything, but the improvement should be enough to believe the light you’re seeing at the end of that tunnel is closer than you think.

About Todd Kaufmann

Growing up in San Diego, CA, Todd made the move to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas in the spring of 2008. Since then, he has covered events such as the Byron Nelson Classic, the Colonial Tournament, the AT&T Cotton Bowl, numerous home games for the Texas Rangers as well as high school football around the metroplex. You can also find some of his written work in the weekly Prosper Times and monthly Prosper Magazine. He and his wife Kerri make their home in Little Elm, Texas with their daughter, Hannah, and yellow lab, Ranger. Contact: Website | Facebook | Twitter | More Posts

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