The lone class 6 squad in the area, the Joplin Eagles have taken the field to prepare for the 2022 season. Like most teams, the Eagles couldn’t be more excited to get things rolling for the coming year.

Draven VanGilder said, “I love the game and I love getting out here and getting after it and I’m really impressed with our team having a couple weeks off, we came out and we retained a lot of information, so we didn’t have to waste time when going over and reviewing a lot of things. We even had some time to put some new stuff in and the team out here has excelled at that.”

Joplin would reach the district 3 championship game last year and eventually fall to Lee’s Summit North. This season, the Eagles hope to get back and win it this time with a bit of new look team on both sides of the ball. That new look includes replacing Always Wright at quarterback, but head coach Curtis Jasper isn’t worried about his new quarterback, as well as filling other holes.

Head Coach Curtis Jasper said, “Hobbs Gooch has done a great job with stepping up into that role this summer and even in the offseason workouts, so he’s done a great job and everyone, everyone’s kinda sees and they know that we graduated 27 seniors and it was a good group and there’s a lot of opportunities and our guys understand that, plus they have a lot of pride within themselves and they have a lot of pride in this team and in this school.”

For the Eagles, they certainly feel love of the community each football season and the Friday night lights can’t come quick enough for the team.

VanGilder said, “I just think about the home crowd on a Friday night, it gets me so hyped up. When you make a play and you hear the crowd screaming and when they know your name. You got people in the stands that got them signs for you and they’re cheering for you in the student section and my friends, hearing it from my friends the most matters to me. I love the support from the whole city of Joplin, they’ve always been supportive of us and they’ve always had our backs since day one.”