August 25, 2010 10:58:00 AM
The 2010 Victory Christian football team will try to take ownership of the streak.
The two-time defending Christian Football Association champions kick off the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday against Ellwood Christian Academy, which was known as Central Christian Academy last year, of Selma, Ala.
Living up to back-to-back conference titles is one thing. Maintaining a 22-game winning streak that spans the past two seasons should add to the expectations the Eagles face this year.
Despite having to replace a number of key performers, including quarterback Parker Eaves and running back Daylan Hairston, to name just two, coach Chris Hamm feels good about his team before its first game.
"We''re a little younger this year, so in one way I wish we would have played (last week)," Hamm said. "In another way I am glad we had another week to get some last-minute things fixed. I am anxious to see how we fair."
Hamm is curious to see how the Eagles adjust with three offensive linemen in new positions and with a new quarterback. Junior Destin Edwards moved to center to anchor the offensive line that features freshman Brandon Shaw and sophomore Aaron Ott.
Sophomore quarterback Marcus Sims takes over for Eaves and will direct an offense that includes senior tailback Landon Ellis, senior split end Tyler Jones, senior fullback Ben Williams fullback, and junior split end Kaleb Holliness.
Hamm said the Eagles won''t expect Sims to win games for them. Instead, they will need him to manage the game and to get the football to the right player at the right time. If he can do that, Hamm said the Eagles should have enough weapons to make some noise.
"I am real pleased with how he has progressed and how he is doing," Hamm said. "He is handling the plays we''re giving him to run."
Hamm said Sims, who is 6-foot-1 to 6-3, played defensive end and backup quarterback last season. Hamm said he is different from Eaves, who was more of a runner, in that he is a stand-in-the pocket passer who will run if he needs to.
On defense, Hamm likes the returning experience and feels that unit will be able to compare with some of the best defenses in the past few years.
"The 2006 team had a pretty good defense, the 2008 team had a real good defense, and last year we had a good defense," Hamm said. "We''re going to miss Daylan, but, for the most part, everybody else is back. We have some size and quickness, especially up front."
Victory Christian defeated Ellwood Christian Academy 62-6 last season in its second game of the year. Rain wreaked havoc with the Eagles'' schedule last season, but it didn''t prevent them from capping a 10-0 season with a 49-6 victory against Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Christian in the CFA state championship.
Ellwood Christian lost to North River Christian (Ala.) Academy 57-36 last week, so Hamm expects an improved opponent from last season. He also is anxious to see how his team mixes a little of the old and a little of the new to keep its run going.
"It sounds like we may be able to make some hay against their defense, but we''re going to have to do a good job containing their spread offense and their quarterback, primarily."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.