New coach, new attitude make for intriguing Top Matchup

New Signal Mountain coach Josh Roberts leads his players through a drill in Tuesday's practice. Photo: WTVC Sports

Friday's Top Matchup is Signal Mountain at Red Bank.

It's an interesting rivalry.

But the story within the story is at Signal Mountain.

They have a new coach and a new attitude.

Josh Roberts is having a blast. He was promoted from within as the new coach.

Roberts told NewsChannel 9, "The biggest thing I told them is you guys have lost the fire for the game, the passion for the game. This year, they're having a lot more fun. I mean they're really starting to enjoy football again."

2017 is a new year.

A new leaf.

A new outlook.

Wide receiver Travion Williams put it this way, "But this year we all have the same chemistry. We all like each other. We have more players and we're just all ready and happy and ready to go."

And it shows on the field.

The Eagles notched a solid 27-7 victory over Tyner last night.

Last season, several players left the team.

The Eagles had less than 30 on the squad.

This season, they're up to 49. Roberts said, "There were a lot of kids still in the hallway. We got kids from baseball, lacrosse, we got kids from soccer and basketball. A lot of guys who had never even played before."

The new coach noted last year was like a job, a grind if you will. "We tried to be as efficient as we could at practice, we shortened practice times. We tried to get as much as we could in that short amount of time."

The focus now falls squarely on Red Bank.

Lions coach Chad Grabowski said a chief concern for his team is closing out games. Grabowski said, "We gotta get better at what we do and prepare ourselves to get better and make sure what we're supposed to do against that team."

Quarterback Madox Wilkey will guide the offense. Multi-purpose athlete Calvin Jackson will be a big part of it. "We're always trying to get the ball in Calvin's hands, no matter what we do. He's very dynamic and when we get the ball in his hands in space, he makes some plays," Grabowski said.

For the Eagles, it's all about football, and fun.

"We gotta bunch of guys that really like each other and love each other, " Roberts said. "That makes a difference on Friday night."

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