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Eastern Eagles fall on hard times

As the college football season continues into the last third of the season you can see how fortunes have changed for some teams. My Eastern Eagles have fallen on hard times as several injuries have led to young players getting playing time and valuable experience. However, with the inexperience and youth factor it has meant a fair amount of missed blocks and tackles and some opponents have looked like All-Americans. Case in point, on Saturday the Portland State QB juked and ran around defensive linemen, linebackers, corners and safeties. The Vikings led EWU 35-7 and would hang on for a 38-35 victory. Nice second half rally but a missed field goal in the first half made us groan and wondering why we didn't go for it on 4th down. Just sayin!

PSU and EWU came into the game with the same exact record but PSU looked unbeatable yet they have had a lackluster year losing big too many teams and their wins have been to also rans. Okay, add EWU to the also ran category for this season. You hate to lose at any time but to a team that the Eags should have beaten this one hurts a bit more because they are a rival maybe not a Montana type of rival but a rival nonetheless.

As for the rest of the country I am seeing some interesting things happening. The Southeastern Conference with their high profile and big name coaches is turning into a sports writer's dream with all of the coaches digging at one another. It leaves a bad taste because it doesn't show much respect for the game and some highly respected coaches. Be careful what you say because it can become bulletin board material for another opponent. Athletes trash talk enough and they certainly don't need their coach to get in on the action.

I do know that the Big Sky Conference coaches have respect for their opposing coaches. I know for a fact that EWU has had a lot of success in the last 12 years and a fair amount of teams in the conference struggled to get to .500 in the win-loss column during that same time. Now those teams are doing pretty good while the Eags are having a set-back season.

So when I'm watching games there seems to be quite a few players that have a tendency to play angry and it shows. It looks like they want to imprint a tattoo on an opponent without using ink. They celebrate most every tackle even when the play goes for 15 yards and a first down. I doubt if that is the first tackle they ever made but it sure looks like it. It's time to celebrate!

I'm not sure what is being talked about during practice but something is setting these kids off. Maybe they learned that in Pop Warner, middle school or high school ball. Or maybe just watching highlights on ESPN gives them ideas of grandeur that they think the whole world should see. I've always heard that as good as you are or think you are there is always somebody better. So don't celebrate so soon or that guy that's better than you might make an impression in a not so pleasant way.

I've coached a lot of kids over the years at the middle school and high school level and one kid that I enjoyed watching play left everything on the field and win or lose always had a smile on his face.

He never complained because he did all he could and if the other team won then there was a good chance the other team was better than us. But I know for a fact the other team respected him for his effort and sportsmanship and they knew he was tough and never dirty.

It's guys like this that makes coaching so rewarding because these kids don't play angry but they play with a purpose and that is to lead by example and make the most of each play. If you can do that you really don't ever lose.

- Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. E-mail him at

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