The Staunton River High School football team will return many key pieces this season to try to get the program back on the right track.
There are two key pieces that the Golden Eagles will depend on to make that happen, and those two are Linebacker/Fullback Jayson Eanes and Tailback/Safety Aidan Brown.
Head Coach Shaun Leonard mentioned that Eanes and Brown are two players who have great instincts and are always making plays around the ball.
“They’re smart,” he said. “They put themselves in successful situations every game by doing their homework, doing the film study, paying attention in practice. They don’t just practice to practice — they are practicing so they can get better.”
Their attention to detail has paid off dividends for both of them during the 2019 season. For Eanes, he racked up 128 total tackles, including 96 solo and 64 assisted. He also had 11.5 tackles for loss and one pass break up. On offense, Eanes had 87 carries for 354 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
Those numbers don’t really come as a surprise to his senior teammate, who noted Eanes’ main strength is his physicality.
“He’s very aggressive on both sides of the ball, and he’s not hesitant to fill a hole on defense; he always sticks his head in there really quick,” said Brown. “The amount of tackles he had last year kind of speaks for that on its own. What I think separates him from the rest is he watches film off the field, which obviously translates over to the game.”
Eanes had the impressive stats on defense, but Brown has been the brightest spot on offense for the Golden Eagles the past couple of seasons, rushing for 540 yards on 87 carries and four touchdowns to go along with it. He also caught nine passes for 76 yards.
On defense at the safety position, Brown tallied 27 tackles with 19 solo and 16 assisted. He also had an interception to go along with it.
Eanes said that his senior teammate is one that the team relies heavily on the defensive side.
“Aidan is one of the leaders. His leadership is outstanding on this team,” Eanes said. “The way he is dedicated to watching film, the way he always knows his assignments on offense and defense, he just goes out there and gets the job done.”
It wasn’t just their head coach who praised their work ethic and dedication in the film room, both offensive coordinator Joshua Smallwood and defensive coordinator Hunter Sheperd had lots of positives to say about their two-star players.
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