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Countdown to Kickoff: Eastside Rams

Rams ready to put experience to use
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 8:54 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Eastside Rams went through some serious growing pains in 2020.

A season that was unlike any other, for everyone, also came with the challenge of coaching a roster that was overwhelmingly made up of underclassmen.

With 45 of the 60 players being “green behind the ears” and attempting to learn the finer points of the game on a week-to-week basis, Eastside struggled to a 1-8 record.

“Just having a lot of uncertainty last year, I think that really effected us just in terms of preparation,” said Eastside head coach Alex Deleon. “So just having this year of normalcy has allowed us to be a lot further ahead then we were last year so it’s been great.”

Entering the fall of 2021, the orange and green have most of last year’s players returning, which they believe will be the key to their success this season.

“Although we were rebuilding last year, I mean we had a lot of young players playing, but the good news about that is the fact that we have a lot of experience now.”

“We have young ones, and the young ones have to get experience,” said senior lineman Tyler Brooks. “They were nervous, but now, I feel like my team, they grew up, now they matured, now they know what we’re expecting and now I feel like we’re fixing to have a great season this year coming.”

With experience now on their side, the Rams know their path to redemption in the competitive Class 5A starts by getting everyone on the same page.

“Especially with like camaraderie and stuff last year, like Zoom meetings,” said junior quarterback Holden Johnson. “You can’t connect with anybody over Zoom meetings, so right now we’re bonding as a team and that’s gonna help in the game.”

“Main thing is consistency and committed,” said Deleon. “That’s one of the biggest things that I’ve preached to them, ya know, is consistency and commitment.”

The message of consistency and commitment is a tired one, but it’s a tried and true statement that emphasizes mastering the fundamentals.

“Right now it’s all about changing the culture,” said Johnson. “Our coach preaches commitment and consistency, so everyday it’s about staying dedicated to the Eastside and our image and our message.”

Eastside will attempt to get their season started on the right foot when they kick off their season against P.K. Yonge at home on August 27.

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