Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Football

December 26, 2012

Eagles well represented in all-district selections

RIO VISTA — The Rio Vista Eagles ended their season with four wins and finished one game back of a playoff spot — quite the turnaround from a one-win season in 2011. And the Eagles were rewarded with several selections amongst the all-district selections.

In District 6-2A, a district with eight teams, one of which made it to the Class 2A Division II state championship game in Corsicana Mildred, the Eagles placed five players on the all-district first team. Rio Vista also added six selections on the second team and had several players receive honorable mention status. Three of the Eagles’ players received first-team or second-team recognition on both sides of the ball.

“It’s a big district,” Odell said. “We have eight teams in our district, which is different than most of the districts around here. A lot of the kids did a good enough job to be on the all-district list but because we had such a dominant team in our district it was tough to get a lot on there. We feel like we were really close to being in the playoffs and hope we’ll make that step next year.

“We hope the kids see the improvement, and I think they do. They know that we’ve made big steps and improvements. Our work habits are getting better and our athletic ability is improving. But you always want more. We didn’t win enough this year, but hopefully the kids understand we’re on the right track and we can continue to improve next year.”

Senior offensive and defensive lineman Jared Wilson, junior tight end Chase Hailey, senior corner back Jacob Stanley and senior punter Joseph Chavez all received first-team honors. Wilson was selected to the all-district first team for offense and defense.

Quarterback Nick Russell, receiver Ryan Jimison, offensive and defensive lineman Zack Sanders, defensive lineman Chris Borden, and linebacker Hailey received second-team recognition for the Eagles.

Running back Sean Worlow, running back and linebacker Jacob Strickland, running back Stanley, tight end Chris Borden, receiver and corner back Dylan Nelson, offensive lineman Jacob Waits and kicker Chavez all received honorable mention.

Russell had 690 passing yards, 704 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns to lead Rio Vista.

“Nick grew a lot this year as far as being the leader of the team and learning to control himself and execute the offense,” Odell said. “I think that’s only going to get better and better. He’s one of those kids that will do the extra work. He’ll do everything he can to make himself better. I don’t worry too much about Nick. He’s self-motivated and I hope that can become contagious with his teammates.”

 Worlow was second on the team in rushing with 475 yards and three touchdowns. Strickland had 316 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Stanley added 167 rushing yards on a 5.6 yards per carry average.

Jimison led the Eagles with 17 catches for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Hailey had 163 yards and two touchdowns from the tight end position.

“Chase is another one of those guys that came a long way in one year,” Odell said. “He’s one of our strongest kids. He went from being a JV player to a first-team all-district tight end and a second-team linebacker. He’s going to continue to improve.”

While Odell and the Eagles are pleased with more than tripling their win total from a season ago, they want to take that next step, and Odell said it starts right now.

“The next step is to continue to push work ethic,” he said. “Our kids know that doing what we do in offseason is one point, but we have to get in there before and after school on their own to keep us headed in the right direction. Dedication level and work ethic is something we have pushed. You can’t just show up and expect to play in the fall. You better get ready now. Our numbers are getting more and more, and hopefully that will continue. Our next step is just to continue what we’ve been doing.

“We’ll get another year in the weight room. I think this year we were equal with everyone, but with another year, we’re hoping to be stronger than the people we play. There’s no substitute for hard work. You can’t just show up and say I’m going to play. You have to do the hard work before you get there and our kids understand that.”

While some of the Eagles work hard in the offseason, Odell said nothing replaces competition, and with Rio Vista being a 2A school, the majority of athletes compete in most sports.

“All of our kids are involved in other things,” Odell said. “There’s no substitute for the weight room, but we want them competing as much as possible. We want them hardcore into track. We want all of our kids running track and if we can get them to do all of that we’ll keep them busy.”

If the Eagles continue to progress at the rate they have over the past two seasons, Rio Vista may have something special in store for 2013.

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