In Goddard Eisenhower's first season of football, they have 5 returning starters from the 2011 team that was the Goddard Lions. But after the school split into two 5A squads, the task at hand for the new Goddard Eisenhower is to grow the program from the ground up.
That's what attracted head coach Charlie Nally to become a Tiger, after 2 years at the helm at Goddard High.
"I've never started a new program from the bottom floor and it was a thrill and a challenge, and after 42 years (of coaching) this is a great challenge," Nally said at practice Monday.
Growing pains are expected in the Tigers' first year, but they won't take away the Tigers' eager nature to become something from nothing, Nally says. They claim to be inspired by the success of the basketball team, and being a new presence on the map.
"Everything is new, everyone's excited. We're young. We don't have many upper-classmen, as far as seniors, so it's young and exciting and the kids are having a great time," Nally said.
Goddard High went 2-7 last season with Nally holding the head clipboard, a record which suggests a required change, and the Tigers will separate themselves from the Goddard Lions with a completely new offense as they ditch the split back multiple sets of the past.
"It's totally different. It's all shotgun. We can look like OU at times, or we can look like K-State so that takes two good programs and we're going to combine both," Nally said.
The Tigers haven't gotten as much acclaim in preseason coaches' polls as OU (4) or K-State (21) as they've been picked to finish 6th out of the 7 teams in the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division 2. Andover Central is favored to win the league with Ark City picked 2nd, Valley Center 3rd, Maize South 4th, and in-town rival Goddard just above the Tigers at 5th.
Eisenhower will take its group of players, whose location north of Kellogg Dr. decided which color uniform they'd wear this year, and attempt to exceed low expectations in Year One.
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