Revived Edgren program ready to take on Perry again
October 6, 2016
Jeremy Sanders simply didn’t want the Robert D. Edgren football program to die.
But the second-year head coach says he’s working to keep the team viable in the future as well.
Edgren returns to the field Friday after a three-week hiatus, brought on by injuries that left the Eagles’ roster depleted. Their game Sept. 17 at Matthew C. Perry was halted late in the second quarter, the Eagles trailing 23-0, and they had to forfeit the following Friday’s game at Yokota.
Now, the Eagles (0-3) play out the remainder of the schedule at home, four games in four weeks, starting with Friday’s encounter with that same Perry team, 3-1 with all three wins coming against Division II opposition.
And the Eagles get to do it on their turfed field. They become the fifth of six football playing schools in Japan to have field turf; the only one that doesn’t is Perry.
“It’s a positive step,” Sanders said of Edgren’s revival and playing on turf. “Everybody from players, coaches and administration, everybody wanted to see the season go forward. We want to come out and compete with what we have and take it day by day. Just staying alive for another day.”
Sanders said he wants to market football to younger boys in the community, have them attend practices and games and “observe what we do, so they can have interest themselves.”
In a time when injuries such as head trauma and concussions are under the microscope, Sanders said he would also like to organize activities for parents to see his and his staff’s coaching style “so they can feel comfortable seeing how we’re teaching kids to play the game of football.”
For the here and now, the Eagles plan to give the Samurai a competitive game, Sanders said. He wouldn’t give a specific number of players on the roster, but said “we’ll have enough to get on the field; we’ll have more than what we had at Iwakuni.”
Among that lot are four of the six core players whom Sanders cited at the start of the season as key to the Eagles fortunes: quarterback Patrick Sledge, running backs Raphael Lykins and Matt Keating and lineman Elijah Pugh.
And despite the relative ease and quickness of the victory at Perry last month, Samurai coach Frank Macias says he’s not taking a thing for granted.
“They’re tough,” Macias said of the Eagles. “They have five or six players who can play football. They’re a handful. I am not taking them lightly.”
Macias says he and his players are as “excited about the new field” as the host Eagles are about it.
“But right now, we’re bringing it,” Macias said of the Samurai continuing their drive toward a return to the D-II title game they lost two years ago.
One other divisional game takes place this weekend, as Kubasaki visits Seoul American at 6 p.m. Saturday, trying to keep hope alive for playing in a sixth straight Far East Division I title game.
Two-time defending Far East D-I champion Kadena plays a rare Monday afternoon game, a 2 p.m. kickoff against the Singapore Eagles all-star players under the umbrella of the Singapore American Community Action Council.
Guam High’s regular season ends with the Panthers hosting Southern at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Interscholastic Football League playoffs start next week.