VALLEY MILLS, Texas — With a new leader in the head coach's office, the Valley Mills Eagles hope they can return to the playoffs after missing out on the postseason for the first time since 2017.
Head Coach Bob Featherston returns to Central Texas after spending time as the defensive coordinator at Mount Vernon High School. Featherston, a Gatesville native, played for the Hornets in high school.
Now, he hopes to bring success to a different CenTex program.
"We're gonna spread it out offensively," Featherston said. "We're gonna try to play fast. We want to put pressure on defenses and make them make decisions quickly. Defensively, we want 11 hats on the ball."
Several players said they have already seen a boost of energy both on the field and in the weight room.
"He brings in that weight room atmosphere, that winning mentality," sophomore linebacker David Haynes III said. "It's just a culture shock for me because everyone is ready to give 110 percent every single day."
Haynes transferred to Valley Mills from Marlin over the summer. His dad is serving on the Eagles' coaching staff. Featherston identified Haynes III as a player to watch this coming season.
The Eagles return plenty of speed on the outside, including senior wide receiver Cooper Ewing.
However, despite the returning production, Valley Mills is still picked to finish sixth in District 7-2A I. Haynes III said he believes the Eagles can "shock the state" and make a deep playoff run.
Valley Mills opens the season on the road against Cayuga.