Statement|Edwards, Wascom, Stewart want to lead Eagles’ turnaround to postseason

Published 6:36 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ben’s Ford Christian School seniors Cole Edwards, Tyler Wascom and Cody Stewart know that for the Eagles to compete, they must stay focused.

The Eagles also understand that success goes hand in hand with how hard you work.

“We have been working hard this summer,” Ben’s Ford first-year coach Tommy Pittman said. “We don’t have a lot of size but we are stronger than we have ever been and we have some pretty good speed.

“We were in several close games last year and if we can turn some of those into wins, I think that can really boost morale. I have a lot of confidence in what we are doing here and there is an excitement.”

The Eagles finished 1-8 and 0-5 in MAIS District 4-1A play last year in Cary Travis’ only year with the program. Pittman enters his fourth year with the program after previously serving as an assistant.

Edwards has been a jack of all trades for the Eagles playing quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. Wascom was a mainstay on the Eagles’ offensive and defensive fronts last season and Stewart is a transfer from Franklinton who is expected to play at wide receiver and safety.

“Our three seniors have all grown and I look for all of them to step up,” Pittman said. “I wish I had them for another couple of years but this is their last opportunity and it is their time to take a leadership role.”

Edwards, Wascom and Stewart are Ben’s Ford’s only seniors but the Eagles do return others including Destin Pittman, Tyler Milner, Kaylin Stewart, Will Owens, Josh Crain and others. Ben’s Ford expects to dress about 18.

“You got a lot of kids looking up to you, so you have to go out there and give everything you got from the kickoff to the last play of the game,” Edwards said. “Football is a game of life. If somebody knocks you down you have to get back up and fight through injuries. You have to put the bad behind you and get ready for the next play.”

“Since the first practice I have been here, I have pretty much made my statement,” Stewart said. “If you get hurt, you have to play through and do whatever you need to do to be a good motivator. Football is a game of life. I have only been here a couple of months but I grew up with most of them as a kid.”

“I am not really one to lead by words but I have always tried to do my best in practice and the games,” Wascom said. “This year, I am not holding anything back so hopefully, the others will follow by example. I never really liked football until all my friends got me to try out and ever since then I love it. If you can’t block out the pain then there is not much you can do for us.”

The trio gets inspiration from different forms and appreciate the opportunity to attend Ben’s Ford.

“I really don’t have an inspiration,” Edwards said. “I have never really thought of it like that but you have to do good, even for the kids that don’t play sports.”

“The biggest inspiration I have right now is my grandmother (Lourenda Stewart),” Stewart said. “I am really close to her and she recently got diagnosed with cancer so I am going to be wearing Mee Maw on the back of my helmet for her.”

“I don’t have much of an inspiration,” Wascom said. “The school is not perfect but it is probably one of the best places you can be.”

Edwards, Wascom and Stewart know that this is their last year to get the most out of the game.

“We set a goal to make it to the playoffs,” Edwards said. “The key to that is working together as a team and overcoming adversity.”

“The first round is all we are focused on right now,” Stewart said. “Nothing else. We want to win ball games.”

“Everybody is expecting us to do great things and we are just hoping that we don’t let them down,” Wascom said. “We just have to take it one step at a time and identify each others’ strength and weakness to get better.”