Evann Long is back as part of Nixa’s receiving corps this summer, as long as his back cooperates.
Long ended up not suiting up for the Eagles as a junior a year ago, but did give football a try during mini-camp and 7-on-7 sessions in June. Ultimately, a back injury derailed his plans to play.
With Long having established himself on the hardwood as a defensive dynamo and on the ball diamond as a shortstop as a starter in both sports, Nixa coach Rich Rehagen is hopeful his athleticism can carry over to the gridiron.
“I’m glad he’s trying it,” Rehagen said. “He hadn’t played football since the eighth grade. It’s good to have an athlete giving it a try. Hopefully, he stays with it. You can’t have enough athletes and he’s an athlete.
“He’s not afraid to compete.”
The nature of 7-on-7 obviously puts an emphasis on quarterbacks and receivers, but Rehagen also has a close eye on the Eagles’ linebackers and secondary. To that end, he’s impressed with what he’s seeing in regard to his defenders’ enthusiasm.
“We’re learning our schemes and we are a work in progress,” Rehagen said. “We’re pretty green in the back seven. I’m excited about our group because they bring good energy.”
The Eagles lost all their starting linebackers from last season to graduation.
“The linebackers are all new,” Rehagen said. “They’ve got a lot to learn. But they are very positive and very active. They’re trying to learn. Steve Moore is one of our more experienced linebackers. We’re hoping he can step up.”
As for quarterback Reid Potts, Rehagen is confident in his starting signal-caller.
“He looks like he’s a little ahead of where a junior normally would be,” Rehagen said.
Nixa traveled to Kickapoo on Tuesday for its final 7-on-7 session. The Eagles host their team camp July 24-30.