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Preseason football: Eaton Eagles

Team: Eaton Eagles

Division/Region: D-IV, Region 16; no change from last season.

Affiliation: Southwestern Buckeye League, Southwestern Division.

Location: Eaton Athletic & Wellness Stadium (Preble County).

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Head coach: Brad Davis, entering his fourth season as Eaton’s head coach; 7-23 overall combined record.

Assistant coaches: Clint Buffenbarger, RB; Austin Fudge, WR/DB; Nathan Islamovsky, OL; Tommy Jones, QB; Chad Lee, LB; Sam Watson, OL/OC.

2017 records: 1-5 SWBL Southwestern; 3-7 overall.

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2017 highlights: Eaton opened with a 24-19 win at Greenville and was 2-1 following a 22-7 Week 3 defeat of Oxford Talawanda. Then SWBL play kicked in.

The Eagles will lug a four-game losing skid into 2018, which included identical 28-20 Weeks 8-9 losses at Brookville and Carlisle.

Graduated senior DB Aaron Tolliver was first team All-Southwest District and All-SWBL Southwestern.

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Key returners:

Jarod Lee, 5-11, 175, jr., LB/TE; second team All-SWBL

Gabe Mirovsky, 5-8, 160, so., DB/RB

Caleb Puckett, 5-10, 190, sr., RB/DB; 736 yards rushing.

Zac Schmidt, 5-10, 170, jr., DB/WR; second team All-SWBL

Ryan Venable, 5-8, 160, sr., QB/DB

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About the Eagles: Returning to regular SWBL title contention and making a postseason push is the goal. Six of Eaton’s seven playoff teams were from 2000-10. Those were the glory years, because the Eagles haven’t fielded a winning team since the 2013 squad went 7-3 and was knocked out of playoff contention following late losses to Franklin and Valley View.

Puckett has led Eaton in rushing each of the last two seasons. He’s amassed 1,604 yards rushing and nine TDs for his career after going for 736 yards last season.

Venable (791 yards passing, 3 TDs) is a returning starter at QB and will be counted on to lead the offense. He’ll benefit from former Eaton standout Tommy Jones as the QB coach.

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Schmidt is another proven offensive factor after leading the team with 28 catches for 364 yards (13.0) as a sophomore.

There is one late-season schedule change. A four-year SWBL crossover series with Carlisle has ended. The Indians swept the last three games. Dixie bumps Carlisle and will visit in Week 10. Eaton hasn’t played Dixie since a 34-0 blanking of the Greyhounds in Week 3 of 2004.

Fun fact: Jack Harbaugh, father of coaches Jim (Michigan) and John (Ravens) Harbaugh, was Eaton’s head football coach in 1964-65.

Playing at cozy Park Avenue stadium in Eaton, his two Eagles teams were 5-4-1 and 6-4, but they left an impression. “We moved 17 different times,” Harbaugh told the Richmond Palladium prior to a 50-year Eagles reunion in 2014. “Eaton is one of our all-time favorite stops.”

He likely views a one-season stay at Xenia the next year just as memorable. In 1966 the Bucs were 8-1-1 as a Western Ohio League member. The eight-team league had formed two years prior and added Fairborn Baker and Troy in 1968.

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Schedule: All at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Week 1: Fri., Aug. 24 GREENVILLE

Week 2: Fri., Aug. 31 at St. Henry, 7:30 p.m.

Week 3: Fri., Sept. 7 at Talawanda

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Week 4: Fri., Sept. 14 BROOKVILLE

Week 5: Fri., Sept. 21 at Oakwood

Week 6: Fri., Sept. 28 at Monroe

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Week 7: Fri., Oct. 5 BELLBROOK

Week 8: Fri., Oct. 12 FRANKLIN

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Week 9: Fri., Oct. 19 at Valley View

Week 10: Fri., Oct. 26 DIXIE

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