By Chris Yow
The 2020 season for every team will be somewhat unique, but for fans of the Indy Eagles, things are going to look much different. The Air Raid offense coach Scott Blade is known for will see many different wrinkles this year with the addition of a pair of big tight end targets and a new quarterback.
Summit transfer Ethan Cash led the Eagles the last two seasons, but his graduation left Blade with no experienced options. Instead, he will turn to one of his leading receivers from last season — Jaxson Campbell. Campbell has taken snaps as a freshman, but has never started a varsity game at quarterback.
“Jaxson is a great athlete, and he has the ability to be a very capable quarterback in our system,” Blade said. “We look for him to lead the team, and he’s going to have some pretty good talent around him to make that easier.”
The 6-foot, 180 pound senior will be working with a group of experienced wide outs, including Tyler Kondra, a transfer tight end from Bishop-Gorman in Las Vegas. The leading receiver returning for the Eagles is Brigham Morrical, who caught 28 balls last season for 348 yards and three scores. Calvin Wilson will also be a high-priority target on the edge.
Expect to see the Eagles lean on the ground game more this season than last. Running Back Ethan Pickering will carry the bulk of the load on the ground after earning 8.9 yards per carry and five touchdowns last season. With Campbell’s athleticism more option-type plays could be in the game plan.
“We have to find a way to let our best athletes make plays,” Blade said.
Where the Eagles should excel in 2020 is defensively, where they return several of their top performers from last season, including Tommy Monohan and Josh Amor. Amor led the team in tackles a year ago with 79, including eight for losses. Monohan added 41 stops, five of them behind the line. While losing Zach Smith will be a big blow to the defense, Blade knows this senior group in the middle will be more than capable.
“There are a couple of guys who we think will be some of the best players in the area. Josh Amor is a really good football player, and we expect him to make a big impact,” Blade said.
Additionally, River Katina and Logan Molnar will be among those expected to keep opposing teams’ passing games limited. Both juniors have experience, and are likely to lead the defensive backfield in 2020.
One aspect often overlooked in high school is special teams, but Indy has a pair of kickers who can both be gamechangers. Punter Cooper Allan averaged just over 38 yards per kick last season, but has worked in the offseason to strengthen his leg, and has posted videos on social media of kicks of more than 60 yards. His counterpart, place kicker Sam Henke has also been working to improve his field goal kicking after going 35-for-40 on PATs last season and a perfect 2-for-2 on field goal tries.
Indy opens their season in the Border Battle against Summit at home on Aug. 21.