A lot of changes coming at Springlake-Earth, but wins should remain

There’s a lot of changes coming to Springlake-Earth’s football team.

James Ball is stepping in as the new head coach and he brings with him a new offensive system as the team adapts to life with a new quarterback.

One thing that shouldn’t change is that the Wolverines should continue to be one of the top teams in six-man football.

Springlake-Earth is coming off a 9-2 season in which they went 4-0 in district. While a lot is different this year, Ball says things have progressed well so far.

“I don’t think anyone is refined at this point, but I think that the kids are responding really well to what we’re teaching them,” he said. “We’re trying to teach them to work really hard in the weight room and on the field. I’ve been really super proud of their effort every day and I think they’re learning as we go.”

Ball says he was drawn to the job at Springlake-Earth due to the strong numbers the Wolverines tend to turn out every year in sports, particularly football. He’ll have six lettermen returning from the 2021 team, four of whom were starters. He’ll have a new quarterback in Slade Beerwickle, whom Ball said has adapted well through summer.

“He’s a junior learning an entirely different system and he’s done a great job of running the offense,” Ball said. “I think every position is going to need more work and improvement which I think will come along as the year goes on. The more and more practices you get under your belt, the more the kids start to develop and understand what you’re trying to teach.”

Roel Fuentes also returns at running back, giving the Wolverines an explosive and experienced runner. His fellow starting tailback, Braxton Etheridge, is gone after moving out of town.

Derek Rosalez will return to help along both the offensive and defensive lines. Regardless of who plays where, they all have to learn the system Ball has implemented.

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Springlake-Earth will operate the Unbalanced I on offense with a base 2-3 defense. Who plays what and where will vary from opponent to opponent. Ball says the systems aren’t particularly hard, but they are still an adjustment for the team to make.

“I don’t think the system is more complicated, it’s just technique driven,” he said. “Some people run three offenses and to each their own, but we run one offense. We just tweak it to fit whichever defense we’re playing. We tweak our personnel and our alignment to fit the offense we’re going against on the defensive side too…Our system is predicated on technique and we’re trying to make sure that everyone understands it at every position.”

Again, the expectations remain high at Springlake-Earth even with all of the changes. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football ranks Springlake-Earth 11th in 1A Division I while they’re fourth in the AGN Preseason Rankings. None of that matters to Ball, however.

“We worry about our own expectations,” he said. “We want to live up to our own standards of what we’re trying to teach. We don’t worry about rankings because on any given night you could win or lose and it doesn’t matter who you’re up against…I don’t worry about rankings because they don’t mean a lot to me. We’re trying to take care of our own business.”

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Besides, in Ball’s eyes, the wins and losses aren’t what will make his team successful this year. What kind of young men he develops off the field, that will be the measuring stick for success in 2022.

“We try to harp on these kids that there’s too much negativity in this world,” Ball said. “Don’t be one of those people who adds to it. It’s hard enough to go through life and it takes a lot less energy to be positive than it does to be negative … If we can teach these kids to be better citizens and productive Americans, I think that would go a long way in determining whether it’s a successful season or not.”

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