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FOOTBALL
Record: 1-3 Home: 0-2 Away: 1-1 HAAC: 0-1
 
Football - Tue, Aug. 23, 2016
The Eagles enter the season looking to ride momentum from strong finish in 2015.
The Eagles enter the season looking to ride momentum from strong finish in 2015.

Kansas City, MO - The 2016 football season is nearly upon us and excitement is extremely high surrounding the Avila football program from the inside and out.

The 2015 season ended on a high note for the Eagles as they won their final two games of the season with game ending goal line stands, and this year's team will look to ride that momentum into 2016.

There is excitement around many of the skill positions as junior quarterback Jordan Radebaugh enters the season as the primary quarterback and the veteran wide receiver group is as deep as it has been in years, led by seniors JJ Russell and Blake Horne. Malik Richards and Malik Dungee have also had huge camps for the Eagles, giving Radebaugh plenty of options down the field. 

The Eagles also have a strong two-headed attack at running back with seniors Demonte McClary and Derek Pugh, and senior tight end Luke Oldham is also poised to have another big year.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles will be led by senior linebacker Aaron Wiggins, who returns to the field after missing all of 2015 with an injury. In 29 career games over three seasons, Wiggins has been a force for the Eagles, racking up 130 total tackles, including 5 sacks and 4 pass break ups.

Wiggins, along with fellow seniors Yves Nguessen, Drew McCullough and Sam Love will lead what will be a relatively young, but experienced defense in 2016. While the Eagles do not boast many seniors, many of their play makers have been in the system for at least a full season, and are ready to step into major roles.

Antwaun Campbell and Danny Johnson return after solid 2015 campaigns to lead the corners for the Eagles, and look for solid campaigns from Wyatt Beebe, Ty Larsen and Zeff Lewey, as well.

"I really like the team we have entering the year," Head Coach Justin Berna said. "I feel like we are close to where we want to be as we head into a big week one game at home with Graceland, and the guys are just ready to get the season going."

While the Eagles have plenty of exciting play makers on the field, Coach Berna added some excitement to the coaching staff in the offseason, bringing on former Kansas City Chiefs standouts Derrick Alexander and Eric Hicks. Alexander joined the staff as the wide receivers coach, while Hicks is coaching the defensive line. Berna was also able to promote Defensive Backs coach Andre' Pope to full time, making him the assistant recruiting coordinator.

"We easily have one of the best, hardest working coaching staffs in the country," Berna said of his coaching staff. "The addition of Coach Alexander and Coach Hicks has been a seamless transition, and the players seem to really feed off of their knowledge and energy every day at practice. Both have come in ready to work, and they have been a welcome addition to an already great group of coaches."

The Eagles will open the season at home with a nationally broadcasted game on ESPN3 and my-KSMO TV on August 27th with kickoff scheduled for 11 a.m. In their first televised game last season, the Eagles defeated Evangel, 34-27 on Senior Day with a goal line stand in the final seconds to clinch a victory.

The Eagles will play all eleven games within the Heart of America Athletic Conference for the second consecutive season, though only games played in the South Division will count toward their conference record.