The Staunton River Golden Eagles knocked off Harrisonburg Friday night in the opening round of the playoffs. But they nearly didn't make it into the postseason, if not for one whale of a performance last week from backup running back Chris Tyree against Alleghany.
If football is about handling adversity, the Staunton River Golden Eagles are experts. The team battled through the Blue Ridge District, needing to win their last two games on the road to clinch a playoff spot.
“We weren't going to fold up. We were going to regroup and we were going to circle the wagons. And we were going to keep playing hard,” said Staunton River coach Chuck Poston.
Then, in the regular season finale at Alleghany, star running back Jarrett Moon broke his leg on the second play.
“I just hated it for the kid,” Poston said. “He had a chance to break 2,000 yards rushing and he's the heart and soul of our team.”
“He's one of the guys that really carries the team. it was roughing seeing him and we're really sorry for what happened to him,” Tyree said.
Despite that blow, the Eagles handled one more test, riding junior fullback Chris Tyree to the victory and into the postseason.
“It's back-to-back year's we've been in the playoffs so hopefully we'll do something this year,” Tyree said.
Tyree is in his first year as a starter. With the ball in his hands last Friday he racked up 237 yards, breaking free for touchdown runs of 30, 61 and 73 yards.
“We just found something that was working with him on the left side Friday and we just kept banging away at it. And i don't get bored with running the same play if it's working,” Poston said.
Said Tyree: ”I knew my team needed me and it was just fun to get out there and show what i can do at running back.”
Number 33 plays both ways for the Eagles, at fullback and outside linebacker, and draws much of his physicality from his other sport: wrestling.
“Wrestling promotes a kind of toughness that translates well to the football field. an understanding of body position and leverage. those kids that wrestle, they can get down and get after it,” Poston said.
The Golden Eagles posted a winning record for the second straight season, a first in school history. And found a playmaker ready to shine.
“He's one of those kind of kids that makes coaching an enjoyable profession,” Poston said.