The Flagstaff football team will attempt to push its record to 2-0 Friday, as the Eagles host the Washington Rams at Northern Arizona’s Walkup Skydome.
Following a rare Thursday game in Phoenix on Sept 2, Flagstaff had a more steady week of practice, though the team still had players out of town due to Labor Day celebrations.
“Monday was off in our opinion, Tuesday starting clicking a bit more, and now here we are. It’s been a fast week,” coach Sean Manning said.
Flagstaff had to schedule its first game mere days in advance of playing on Sept. 2 at Camelback High School in Phoenix, following a cancellation of a Sept. 3 road game at Peoria due to scheduling concerns.. Players were notified that Tuesday -- many of them were in attendance at the Eagles’ home volleyball game -- and less than 48 hours later were on a bus to Phoenix.
The Eagles won 26-7 on the road. Manning said winning a pressure-filled game after an unusually-quick turnaround was a step in the right direction for Flagstaff.
“I think it’s a credit to our away mentality that we have to have, preparing for games away from home and setting the tempo there early, and it helped us prepare for a game in short notice. The kids responded very well, and they appreciated the challenge,” Manning said.
Among the shining stars was senior quarterback Bodie Maier. Making his first start for the Eagles, Maier threw four touchdown passes. The performance bodes well for the Eagle offense, though it was not a surprise to Manning that Maier played so well right away.
“I always had confidence in that dude. He performed exactly how I thought he would. Even with the limited amount of reps on Friday night, he was such a gamer on the scout offense against our defense, that I had a lot of belief in him. And a lot of the other stuff was a result of his good play and protecting the ball and doing all the right things,” Manning said.
The Rams are a quality test for Flagstaff early in its season, having recorded a 6-2 record in the 2020 season and reaching the 4A play-in round. Washington had to forfeit its play-in game due to a positive COVID-19 test to end its season.
In preparation, Manning said his staff has moved a few players around in formations. But, there were not too many massive changes from the first to second weeks. He believes that if his team executes, they can be solid against a tough 4A opponent.
The first game is always a mystery in a sense. We put kids where we think they’re going to perform well, and one or two always surprise them. And either they did well there or they didn’t and so based off that we’re doing a little bit of movement. For the most part you’re going to see guys where they were, but just with a couple nuances,” Manning said.
Kickoff between the Flagstaff Eagles and Washington Rams is set for Friday at 7 p.m. in Northern Arizona’s Walkup Skydome.