Plenty of experience and a new coaching staff give the Paonia Eagles much to look forward to this season.
Paonia claimed the district title in 2011 and ended the season at 15-8. Under new head coach Drew Potter, the Eagles return all but one of last year's players, and will have eight seniors in the varsity lineup.
"That's a lot of experience coming back," said Potter. "We should be very strong."
Potter brings several years of coaching experience to the team, including high school football and baseball positions in Iowa and Nebraska and four years as a youth coach. Potter was an assistant football coach at Paonia last fall and prior to that was assistant football and girls basketball coach for Delta High School.
The Eagles are working to strengthen their pitching game after graduating all-state pitcher Casey Gillenwater, last year's only senior, and on their defense, said Potter. He was hired on last spring and had the opportunity to work with members of the team last summer. While he was impressed with the level of play, the team can expect to see some changes in the lineup at the varsity level as the season progresses, said Potter.
Paonia's schedule will include more games against bigger teams than in the past, starting with the Montrose tournament on March 16-17.
Paonia opened the season with a narrow 2-0 loss to 3A Hotchkiss on Monday. They host 4A Battle Mountain in a double-header beginning at noon Tuesday, March 20.
"It's a tougher schedule in general, but it will make us stronger when playoffs come," said Potter.blog comments powered by Disqus