Eastern Hills is one of those teams you just want to cheer for. They are below average with the potential to be much better and make the playoffs. They have a very hard working coaching staff. They go out to 7 on 7 - take their lumps and try to improve - and they won't settle for mediocrity. They want to take on the big boys. They want Stephenville, Everman, Timberview and teams of that ilk to be scared. 9 all-district starters return from last year's team - and although they will have some youth in places, they do have some talent.
Chris Gibson played JV quarterback as a freshman. The step up to varsity may be a big one but he had periods in 7 on 7 when he looked great and periods when it was just a little off. Roscoe Lee as a freshman won the track meet so as a running back, if he gets a little space - he could be gone. He may not have the size to handle 20 carries a game, though. A couple good receivers should help out the young quarterback in George Zakaria and Jorge Romero. The offensive line will be young in parts but Derric Ramsey and George Magalaras should hold down the fort.
The defense will have some studs on it. Dai'von McLucas was a great linebacker last season. Brian Watkins was great on the offensive line. The secondary has speed and returning talent with Damon Barrett and Everett Walker. Look for sophomore Bertram O'Neal to make the leap up and make a difference at linebacker. Mark Fitz will have to play big as nose tackle - if he can lead the defense - the rest of the talent can circle around him and make plays. In the kicking game, Luiz Tavarez should show some consistency for them and could all-district as a kicker.
Overall, with Southwest still having the top spot and Dunbar and Wyatt playing as top tier teams again - it leaves only one of the Hills, Eastern, Western or South with the legitimate opportunity at the last playoff spot. The game against Arlington Heights will determine whether or not they will make the playoffs. I do think they will slide into the 4th spot as the other zone is heavier in talent with Dunbar and Southwest - but I don't see them beating out Dunbar in the 3rd place game - but Eastern Hills - if they can beat Arlington Heights, will get to see a Week 11 - and a lot of people will be happy for them if that occurs.