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Eagle Point on the rise

EAGLE POINT — Seth Womack and the Eagle Point football team have one thing to say to the doubters: Bring it on.

After going winless last year, Womack is confident his squad has improved significantly. Coaches in the six-team Midwestern League chose the Eagles to finish last, and that’s just fine, Womack said.

Let them.

He knows a different Eagle Point team, as do several of the coaches who got a glimpse of the Eagles at the Gold Beach football camp during the offseason.

“We heard some, ‘Wow, you guys have really turned it around,’” Womack said.

The Eagles return around 10 starters from a young 2014 club that struggled. The birds in the nest at Eagle Point are older and stronger — in fact, the Eagles won a weightlifting challenge at Gold Beach.

And now they’re ready to take flight, Womack said.

“We had 16 sophomores starting halfway through the (2014) season,” said Womack, in his third year. “This might be the most talented group we’ve had top to bottom since I’ve been here. We don’t have a kid like Peyton Dole (who is now at Air Force), but we’ll have every position covered solid. We’ll be somewhat young and junior-heavy, but we had a great summer.”

One of Eagle Point’s strengths is its receiving corps, led by junior receiver Jacoby Jackson. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder turned heads at Gold Beach and has been eye-catching at practice. New quarterback Nathaniel Page will also have competent receiving options in seniors Jordan Castro (who will also see time in the backfield) and Ryen Ross and juniors Coldin Shopp, Hunter Morgan and Nick Marshall.

“He’s done a great job this summer and at camp,” Womack said of Jackson. “He’s a big, physical guy who is very fast.”

Page is a junior who has “earned the job,” Womack said. He was the JV QB and got a small taste of varsity action last fall.

Bryan O’Neil is a hard-working senior running back/linebacker who should make an impact, Womack said.

Castro is a two-way returning MWL honorable mention.

“Castro can do it all,” Womack said. “O’Neil is more of a fullback.”

The line will be led by second-team all-conference selection Wynn Nevin, a 6-3, 275-pound junior, and Jason Higgison, a 6-1, 270-pound senior.

Higgison has a max squat of around 450 pounds, Womack said.

Junior Taylor Lawler (6-2, 225) is a returning all-league honorable mention.

Junior Leonard Hunter, at center, is a comfortable member of the 315-pound bench press club, giving the Eagles even more muscle.

In the defensive backfield, Pablo Ramirez has been impressive at cornerback. The 6-2, 180-pound senior was praised for his efforts at the Gold Beach camp. Brian Caro also stood out at safety, Womack said.

“We want to be physical, run the ball, block well and do things the right way,” Womack said.

Eagle Point went 5-5 overall and 3-3 in league play in Womack’s first season.

The Eagles open the 2015 season at South Albany. After three straight road games, Eagle Point plays Bend in its home opener on Sept. 18.

The top three teams from the Midwestern League automatically qualify for the OSAA’s 16-team state playoff bracket.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt

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Junior Hunter Morgan (82) is part of a deep receiving corps for the Eagle Point. MT FILE PHOTO
Womack