The Southwest Eagles are under a regime and looking to bounce back from an 1-10 season last year.
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - It is a new era for the Southwest.
Despite finishing 1-10 last season, the Eagles still made the division five playoffs, falling to Castle Park 49-32.
A fresh season brings also brings in a new head coach, Peter Blincoe Jr., who comes over from Central to replace John Haines. Blincoe's mission is to rebuild a culture for a school that hasn't seen a winning season since 2017.
"Once you do something numerous times it becomes a habit and a habit becomes a behavior," Blincoe said. "We want to change the spirit of losing into a spirit of winning. Basically we want to change the behaviors into believing in themselves as being winners.”
Blincoe, a former running back at North Dakota State, has already had an instant impact on the Southwest locker room.
"Blincoe has had a tremendous impact on the team because he is super energetic and super willing to work with his players and he hypes everybody up," wide receiver William Lilien said. "We are all here for Blincoe and Blincoe is here for us.”
"He has a very good know-how on how to engage with athletes and he pushes everyone,” offensive and defensive lineman Luca Salcedo said.
A major factor in turning around the culture, will be the strong group of seniors at Southwest.
"We have a lot more leadership this year," Lilien said. "We have a lot more seniors willing to take authority over the team. It can be way more impactful because our seniors this year are way more willing to communicate with the younger levels. They are willing to push others to let us work harder and take control basically.”
In previous seasons, Southwest has been known for their high flying air raid attack. This season, fans can expect a much different product on the field.
"It is not going to be the same team as you’ve seen last year, that's all I can say," Blincoe said. "We won't be the same team. We are going to run the ball, I’ll tell you that.”
Coach Blincoe believes this more balanced offensive approach can open up new possibilities for the Southwest offense.
"You know open up defenses and reads," he said. "Hopefully spot some mismatches out there and stuff like that.”
The new look Eagles will kick off their season against another team that is known for running the ball, the Holtville Vikings on August 18th.