In his second season at Etowah, Dave Svehla is seeing a measure of the success he found at some of his previous coaching stops in Illinois and Nebraska, where he led teams to the state playoffs eight times. That isn’t to say Etowah is playoff-bound yet, but it’s certainly a nice change from the 2-2 mark it stood at this point last season, or even the 4-6 finish it posted.
After beating Wheeler in last week’s Region 5AAAAAA opener, Svehla said he hadn’t realized that his team had already equaled its win total from 2012.
“I know that last year was a disappointment,” Svehla said. “But last year is over. We still have got a lot of things that we want to get better at. It really, truly, is a journey from week to week to week.”
Svehla isn’t the only one at Etowah who knows what it’s like to win.
Quarterback John Oliver, running back Brandon Engle, defensive back Ben Rowell and linebackers James Arnold and Preston White have a history of winning together. In fact, for many of the players, the 2012 season was the first losing season they had been a part of since they started playing together as 8-year-olds.
“We are used to winning,” Oliver said. “We never had a losing season before.”
Looking for their fifth straight win, the Eagles will host Roswell, which is coming off a lopsided loss to archrival Milton, tonight at Eagle Stadium.
The Hornets (2-2, 0-1) might be in the lower half of the region standings, but that doesn’t make them any easier to prepare for.
In wins over Centennial and Johns Creek, the Roswell offense was on fire, putting up an average of 40 points. But in losses to Lambert and Milton, the Hornets scored just nine and three points, respectively.
Tonight’s game could very well depend on which Roswell team comes to play.
Quarterbacks James Whitaker and Matt Cory split time on the field, while there are a host of running backs, including Mechane Slade, Kendrick Jackson and Sheldon Evans, who take turns with the ball.
In many ways, Etowah will be preparing for Roswell much the way it did for Wheeler last week.
“There is always an element of unknown when you play teams with athletes,” Svehla said. “It’s not easy on us when we had to prepare for Wheeler and then turn around and prepare for Roswell (this) week.”
The Eagles were able to contain the Wheeler playmakers last week, aside from a pair of long touchdown passes, and come away with the victory. Similar success against Roswell would put Etowah in a nice position when it takes on Milton next week.
However, the Eagles aren’t counting their chickens before they hatch.
“We are taking it one game at a time,” Svehla said. “It’s no good getting ahead of ourselves.”