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Eagles ready to challenge in MWL

EAGLE POINT — Eagle Point head football coach Seth Womack has found himself losing track of who he's watching as his running backs receive handoffs during practice.

He's got four hungry seniors, hard to distinguish and each capable of being the top back on a squad that has the fourth-year leader smiling.

With a reliable offensive line featuring seniors Wynn Nevin and Taylor Lawler and an experienced defense, the Eagles are eager to get their Friday night show started.

"I think you go into every football season with high expectations," said Womack. "The difference this year is we really feel like we are in a position to do well. There's not a game on our schedule we can't win. I'm excited and our kids are excited."

Expect to see a relentless ground attack at times in Eagle Point, where seniors Jaxson Jones, Bennett Rodgers, Preston Johnson and Tanner Jostad have all wowed Womack.

Jones is a 6-foot-2 athlete with track-sprinter speed, Rodgers has elite vision, Jostad can stop on a dime and Johnson brings a little bit of everything to the table, Womack said.

"They are so close," he said. "They've all fought for time. ... We'll have a fresh set of legs at all times with no dropoff."

And they'll all be in good hands alongside teammates like Nevin, a tackle who Womack said has received looks from several West Coast NCAA Division I schools. Nevin (6-3, 275 pounds) was a Midwestern League first-team selection on offense last fall.

The 6-2, 225-pound Lawler, another first-team pick and honorable mention defender, is a guard and junior Clayton Fraughton is at center.

Seniors Nathaniel Page and Trae Perkins are battling it out for the starting quarterback spot, Womack said. The 5-10 Page returns with more fall repetitions under his belt, while Perkins, who did not play last season to focus on other sports, stands tall at 6-5.

"They throw the ball extremely well," Womack said. "Nate has good accuracy and Trae is a big, strong, fast kid."

Their top targets will be senior Jacoby Jackson (honorable mention offense last season), Johnson, Perkins (if he's not at QB) and senior Coldin Shopp.

Senior Hunter Morgan, another wideout, may surprise some people, Womack said. He broke an ankle during Week 2 last year but has worked diligently to rehabilitate and put himself in the mix.

Some of Eagle Point's top defenders are senior inside linebackers Ruben Capetillo and Brian Gerke.

"They're nasty," Womack said.

Seniors Mario Quintero (linebacker), Josh Saenz (a 6-2, 215-pound linebacker) and Shopp (defensive back) all landed spots on last season's MWL honorable mention defensive list.

Also keep an eye on sophomore cornerback Noah Page, Womack added.

The second-year standout is a rarity on this Eagle Point roster. The senior class has paid its dues through hard times endured (including a winless 2014 campaign). The Eagles went 2-7 in 2015.

"We have a really good (senior) class," Womack said. "Most of these kids have played at least for two or three years on varsity. It is a tremendous group of kids who have worked their butts off."

The top four teams in the MWL automatically qualify for the 16-team 5A state bracket.

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