WOOD RIVER - Last year, the East Alton-Wood River football team went 3-6 with wins over Madison in their game and then Roxana and Red Bud in their final two games. What happened in between was five straight losses. That shouldn't happen again this season and head coach Garry Herron and his players are confident in it.

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“We bring back quite a bit," Herron said after a summer practice last week. "We’ll have 16 seniors, all of them having lots of experience.”

According to last season's roster, the Oilers only lost five seniors to graduation. That means a majority of the team will be returning and going with a nice group of incoming freshmen.

Herron said that the summer practices have been going "pretty well," but the team had their first after-school practice just yesterday.

“It’s been going pretty well," Herron said. "We’re averaging 30-40 kids in the weight room."

He said in years past he's had upwards of 50-60 players, with this year being a little light, but that didn't stop him from saying that this team is the most experienced one in the last three to four years.

The Oilers continued gaining experience over the summer partaking in camps, practices, and scrimmages.

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"We went to a few seven-on-seven tournaments one in Missouri and then a couple with Southwestern. The kids have worked really hard this summer."

Herron knows that after this season, it's going to be a bit of a rebuild. So he said, “we’re going to soak it all in for right now and do as much as we can with the guys that we have.”

When it comes to play-calling, EAWR is a run-first kind of team Herron said. The team has been working on how to spread out their opponent's defense to open up their own speedy run game.

Herron knows that his opening game of the season is going to be a tough one. The Oilers will host Harrisburg at 7 p.m. on August 26 at their new-and-improved football field.

“I think they’re going to have some speed, but if we come out physical I think we’ll be fine," Herron said.

It's always important to win the first game of the season, just like they did last year, but Herron wants a little more than that.

“We’re all excited. It’s cool to be a part of. Now, all we have to do is win some games and get into the playoffs."

“We’re all excited. It’s cool to be a part of. Now all we have to do is win some games and get into the playoffs.

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