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J-E football poised to make serious title run

Eagles have experience, depth to challenge in C West

— Perhaps the time has finally arrived for Jordan-Elbridge football.

A combination of veteran leadership on the field, vast improvement in all phases of the game and changes within the Class C West division give the Eagles an opportunity to end its long quest and turn into a league and Section III title contender.

Tim Hawkins’ first season as J-E head coach proved quite successful, as the Eagles climbed to the .500 mark, going 4-4 after a 1-7 mark in 2012. But that only translated to a fifth-place finish in a tough C West division.

Among the many proven players that return is senior quarterback Austin Barrigar, entering his third year as a starter. Hawkins said that Barrigar has reached the point where he is similar to having an assistant coach on the field.

“I give (Austin) a lot of rope,” said Hawkins. “He’s grown in leaps and bounds from a mental standpoint. Nine times out of 10, he knows what I want to do. He’s successful through hard work, and he knows how to lead this group.”

Barrigar concurred. “I can tell (the coaches) what play to call if I see something that I want,” he said.

Of course, a quarterback can’t do it alone, and J-E might have its finest offense in decades, with a deep group of running backs, two potent receiving targets and lots of depth and experience up front.

Bulldozing senior fullback Ryan Matousek leads the way in the backfield, where he’ll split most of the carries with tailback Sam Robles. If either of them needs a break, LaMatt Chisholm or George Richardson is ready to step in and carry the ball.

Though not possessed with the strongest of arms, Barrigar will wing it downfield, and he’ll often look for senior Kyle Humberstone, his top wideout, or for tight end Zach Pangaro, who could get open a lot if teams worry too much about containing Matousek or Robles.

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