Newton's senior running back, Adam Bridges, wants to be a part of the consistency the Eagles have had at running back.
In years past, the Eagles have overpowered teams with their size and strength up front to help dominate in the running facet of the game. That also helps head coach Jason Fulton control the clock, thus controlling the tempo of the game.
“Bridges is back and was a big part of what we did last year," Fulton said. "Unfortunately, he started the season injured. But now he's healthy and ready to play.”
However, without the usual depth the Eagles have been blessed with up front, the team will have to rely on every single player winning their blocking assignment.
“We're counting on guys to do a lot of blocking and as well as catching the ball out of the backfield, Fulton said. “We have a running back corps that's a pretty good group.”
That will let the defense take things from there, as Fulton is the primary play-caller on the defensive side.
Bridges took a big step toward a large role this season by studying film of previous performances and observing what made former running backs successful.
Peyton Doughty led the Eagles in rushing two seasons ago, succeeding Mitch Bierman, who was an all-state running back in his time as an Eagle.
“We worked out a lot this summer,” Bridges said. “I watched a lot of film. I've been watching old film to see what they were doing so I can do the same. I've been thinking about tendencies they did. I need to keep those in mind when I practice.”
Bridges saw the great running backs in front of him as freshman.
“I'd just watch them to pick up on things that made them successful,” he said.
Things didn't go according to plan last year for Bridges. He suffered a lower-body injury five days before the first game that limited his game play to just six of the ten Eagles' games.
“I didn't play as much because of the surgery in the beginning of the year,” he said. “I learned a lot my sophomore that helped last year in recovering. Having that experience is a big part.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch for this and other stories about area teams in the Effingham Daily News football preview, to be published on Friday.
Chet Piotrowski, Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org