ROCKFORD, IL (WTVO) — The East E-Rabs have stacked together back-to-back playoff seasons. The last time that happened was in 1985 and ’86. So can the E-Rabs make school history this season by making it to the playoffs three straight years?
The East E-Rabs charged into their first practice at midnight Monday morning on the first day of practices. The players are ready to go after a third straight playoff appearance.
“Three years in a row of course,” said tight end Carter Wyatt of his goal. “We’re trying to come in and get a good season started and hopefully make another playoff birth.”
Head coach Gary Griffin isn’t about flash. Even his goals are simple.
“Be 1-0 every week. We’re not worrying about the playoffs. We’re not worrying about anything in the future except when we play in week one and that’s Belvidere North.”
The E-Rabs are the easiest team in the NIC-10 to figure out. They’re going to line up and run the football. When I asked Griffin is he’s has any new wrinkles he’s adding this year he had a classic answer.
“We’ve got a few wrinkles. Run right. Run left.”
The E-Rabs have just the right man to run with the football. Senior Tayveon Lake, the conference’s leading rusher with more than 1600 yards last season is back.
“We’re going to go as far a Tay Lake takes us,” said Griffin. “We’re going to get him the ball every time and see if someone can stop him.”
Despite that statement Lake won’t get all the carries. The E-Rabs have another productive running back returning in Jada Shaw. He rushed for almost 500 yards last season.
“I know I’m going to surprise some people this year,” said Shaw. “Tay he’s a great running back, but I’m going to show some people that it’s not just him running the ball it’s me running the ball too.”
The quarterback position is up for grabs, but athletic junior C.J. Berry might have the inside track.
Up front the E-Rabs graduated Aydin Gutridge and big Delvante LeFlore moved to Houston, Texas but 6’5 340 pound Jason Stroberg is back.
East’s freshman team went 8-1 last season. Many of those players are ready to contribute now as sophomores.
“They’re competing,” says Griffin. “We could end up starting six sophomores this year. We don’t care. We’ll play them.”