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Football 2014: Eisenhower Tigers

Published August 24 at 7:47 p.m. | Last updated August 12 at 12:07 p.m.

It was difficult for Eisenhower football coach Marc Marinelli to be patient as his team struggled through a 2-7 season.

But every time he felt discouraged on a Friday night, there was a pick-me-up the following Monday.

The Tigers’ junior varsity and freshmen teams combined to lose three games last season and Marinelli is looking forward to utilizing many of those players on the varsity level this season.

“We are really fortunate to have a talented group of young kids,” Marinelli said. “These kids have confidence after spending all of last year winning non-varsity games.

“I was never going to play a sophomore over a senior just because. I wanted those kids to experience success before they played with us.”

Eisenhower has a wealth of skilled players, led by slot back Bailey Strunk, who had 1,000 total yards last season.

But where Marinelli is most encouraged is by the play of his offensive line, which was, at times, overmatched last season.

“Our offensive line has grown in so many ways this summer,” Marinelli said. “We went to team camps and then did some scrimmages with Andale and Garden Plain and they held their own. They’ve improved so much in such a short time. We’re really excited.”

Marinelli thinks it isn’t far-fetched for Eisenhower to not only make the playoffs, but to even win its district.

The three teams in the Tigers’ district – Arkansas City, Liberal and Goddard – were a combined 10-18 last season.

“Our goal is to win our district,” Marinelli said. “Our focus is to be playing our best in that time of the year.”

A LOOK AT EISENHOWER

Coach: Marc Marinelli, second season, 2-7

League: AV-CTL Division II

Last season: 2-7

Last two seasons: 3-15

Projected 2014 playoff team? Yes

TOP SKILL PLAYERS

PlayerHt.Wt.Pos.Yr.
Bailey Strunk6-0165WRSr.
Blake Ramey5-7165QBSr.
Drake Damon5-9185WRJr.
Josh Fatkin6-0230RBSr.

TOP LINEMEN

PlayerHt.Wt.Pos.Yr.
Mitch Raleigh6-0245OLSr.
Adam Brown6-3230DLSo.
Jarin Hanika6-1205DLJr.
Jakob Thomas6-0195OLJr.

2013 RESULTS

OpponentScore
ClearwaterL,23-3
Maize SouthW,3-0
AndoverL,28-0
Arkansas CityL,21-13
NewtonL,28-7
Valley CenterW,37-7
CarrollL,56-21
LiberalL,36-31
GoddardL,35-10

2014 SCHEDULE

DateOpponent
Sept. 5at Andover
Sept. 12Wellington
Sept. 19at Maize South
Sept. 26Salina Central
Oct. 3Andover Central
Oct. 9Valley Center
Oct. 17at Liberal
Oct. 24at Arkansas City
Oct. 31at Goddard

Josh Fatkin on his team

What Eisenhower does well: “It’s the strength and motivation we bring every single day to workouts and practice. What drives us is not being successful in the past. We really have the want to win. We want to hang a banner.”

What has to improve: “I feel like with our offense, we have to get something going. Our offense, it could have been a lot better. We never could get fully into a rhythm.”