The 2020 season started out with some promise, as the Airport Eagles sported a 2-1 record. However, four straight losses produced Airport’s worst win total in quite some time.
“We had a poor year,” Airport head coach Kirk Burnett said. “It was one of the toughest seasons we’ve had in a while. We didn’t play well in all three facets of the game. It was a hard one to swallow.”
A combination of a shortened offseason and a very young team played roles in the outcome.
“We lost 98 percent of our offense from the year before, and we had a bunch of newcomers,” Burnett said. “They didn’t get a whole lot of work in, and when we could work with them, it didn’t go well.”
Burnett is hopeful the challenges his Eagles faced last year will pay dividends this year as he welcomes back a more experienced team.
The Airport resurgence begins along the offensive line where Foster Barrs anchors a veteran group.
The running back position will get some help in 2021. Last year, Immanuel Bovain was the primary back. This year, he is joined by Marcus Dwyer and Ja-Khaydin Kinard.
Tyler Dasher returns as the quarterback.
On defense, Airport returns a deep linebacker corps that includes Freedom Fleming, Devin Butts, Cain Williams, Carlos Anderson, and Michael White.
Burnett feels his team’s strengths lie in running the ball. The biggest weakness is the kicking game, once a long time strength for the Eagles.
The non-region schedule offers opportunities for Airport to build some momentum with a trip to Swansea, the annual showdown with Brookland Cayce, and a battle with Lower Richland.
North Augusta appears to be the biggest region challenge on Airport’s schedule. Games against Aiken, South Aiken, and Midland Valley will go a long way in determining if Airport plays in November.
“I think we can challenge for the region title,” Burnett said. “We won it a couple of years ago, and we hosted a playoff game. I believe if the guys can stay healthy and hungry and work to get better every day, we can reach those goals.”