OVERTON — Overton showed tremendous growth last season. After posting a 5-4 record in 2017, the Eagles were one of the top teams in Class D2.
They won eight consecutive games to reach the eight-man quarterfinals where they ended up falling to Mullen 52-36, ending up with a 9-2 record.
The Eagles, who use a run-first system, return five offensive starters this season. They will have to replace starting quarterback Braden Kizer and running back Caleb Moore. Kizer threw for 392 yards and seven touchdowns while rushing for 806 yards and 15 touchdowns. Moore led the Eagles with 1,136 rushing yards.
Senior Ryan Lauby is back for the Eagles after accumulating 1,135 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns on 190 carries. He also registered 97 tackles as a starting linebacker.
Junior Elijah Heusinkvelt received 61 carries at running back last season but will shift to quarterback this year.
"We lost some great veteran seniors from last year, but I feel we are replacing them with players that can fill their position and complete just as last year," coach Paul Heusinkvelt said. "We will need to be dedicated in the weight room in the offseason and be very diligent at performing well at camps to bring our confidence level high going into the first game."
The Eagles return their entire starting lineup, minus setter Jaycee Wallace. Replacing one of the area’s top player will be a challenge, but the Eagles have the pieces to build on their 21-11 record from last season.
The Eagles return two of the top hitters in the area in juniors Rachel Ecklund and Haley Fleischman. Ecklund paced the Eagles with 368 kills for a .289 kill percentage. Fleischman was just as effective, posting 347 kills for a .303 kill percentage.
Junior outside hitter Allie Altwine, junior right side hitter and setter Anna Brennan and sophomore Kenzie Scheele also are returning starters for the Eagles.
"We may have some adjusting to do at the beginning but several of these girls are multisport athletes, play club volleyball and are top competitors," coach Hayley Ryan said. "I have confidence that with some time, these girls will be back competing at the same level, if not better, than last season."
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