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ALTON - Eric Dickerson, the Alton High School Redbirds football coaching staff and players have worked diligently to improve on a winless season in 2017.

The hopes for the Redbirds this fall are much higher after a large group turned out for the team. Through summer sessions, 60-70 players have been practicing with the squad.

“Last year, we were so young and had only seven seniors,” Dickerson said. “We played mostly juniors and sophomores. We have a good group of senior leaders taking charge for us so far. In the past few years our underclassmen teams were good. We had success at the freshman level last year.”

Last year’s freshmen and sophomores were very impressive and he said he is seeing continued development this year.

The Redbirds played some 7 on 7 match-ups over the summer against Civic Memorial and Marquette Catholic. Dickerson praised both the CM and Marquette programs for possessing some hard working players and said he was impressed with them in the 7 on 7 contests. Dickerson said Civic Memorial, Marquette Catholic and East Alton-Wood River should all have solid teams this season in the area close to Alton.

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Dickerson said his boys are getting better each week.

“The players are understanding our offense more and coming together better on defense,” he said. “My hat goes off to our kids. They want to succeed and do well and understand hard work. We have four or five guys fighting for a spot. It is very competitive for each spot this year.”

The Redbirds open at 7 p.m. on Aug. 25 at Highland.

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