The Chapin Eagles are rolling.
The Chapin Eagles are rolling.
After finishing as the state runner-up last year, Bob Taylor’s group is determined to get back. The Eagles are currently 2-0 in region play and 9-0 overall after beating West Florence 2-0 on Monday night. The Eagles’ great start includes their first ever win in the Capitol City Cup at the beginning of the season.
Taylor is pleased with what he’s seen from his team in these first nine games. He noted that there have been multiple instances where guys have had to step up and fill new roles due to some players not being available.
“They really have gelled together,” Taylor said. “They really play together well. We’ve had a little adversity with injuries and people being out through other means. The guys have all stepped up, people have filled positions. It has really been the next guy up going in and holding up their end of the role. It’s just a great team atmosphere to be around. They’re all in it together and working well as a team right now. We have high expectations for them and we’ve had some good results in the early part of the season, but there’s a lot of good competition coming up.”
Taylor isn’t overly concerned about complacency or that his team won’t be able to rebound from a loss, should the Eagles suffer one. Taylor and the staff are really just stressing to the players to take things one game at a time, especially with a tough region schedule remaining, including upcoming matchups with River Bluff and Lexington.
“We try to keep them grounded and let them know it’s a long season with a tough region,” Taylor said.
“We’ve got to have a goldfish memory. If we win, that’s fine but that doesn’t do anything to seal the deal for the next game. If we lose, that doesn’t do anything, we’ve gotta get ready to play the next game. It’s what makes this region fun, it’s so competitive. Just about everybody has a chance to win it.”
The Eagles return a bulk of players from last year’s title game-reaching squad. Seven of those returners are starters. They have leaned on their experience and talent, as well as the skill of a few newcomers during this early stretch of play.
“We have a freshman that has stepped up,” Taylor said. “Jalen Tucker has stepped up and it hasn’t been a surprise. We knew that he was a really good player. He complements Carson Graves up top, them working well has been a pleasant sight.
“Defensively, we have three starters back from last year’s defense and it keeps getting better and better. They’re starting to come around. Tilman McClure, Thomas Holstein and Luke Hilton along with Jalen and Carson have been our biggest contributors. We have a transfer from Irmo, Kai Fennell, he’s really stepped up. He had to step in and start playing right back for us and is doing a phenomenal job stepping into that role.”
This is a team that is hungry to get back to Irmo and win the state title this go around.
“I think every coach in the state starts the season wanting to be in that last game and to win that last game at Irmo. That’s our goal,” Taylor said. “The guys are working up to my expectations to get there. I can see they’re on Hudl. They are doing their job watching film. They’re very excited and have very high energy coming to practice. They’re ready for all challenges.”
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