ABILENE, Texas - Abilene High had a rough go last season, but it's also what they went through off the field that's made this team a band of brothers.
Adversity is definitely something this Eagle team knows a lot about.
"We went through some rough patches last year, especially with Derek [Scott's] mom, ended up having Cory [Almanza] in the wreck. It really brought us together," said Senior defensive end Tom Berry. "It made us realize how lucky we are to play this game and how lucky we are just to be healthy."
"With all the downs that we've had, we've only grown from that," said Senior quarterback Derek Scott. "I feel like if anything that's brought us down, only brought us closer together. I feel like the guys have responded really well and have just gotten closer to each other, and that's made us made more of a bond. It's like a family here. We're just a bunch of brothers."
On top of Abilene High's worst season since 1998, Scott lost him mother right before the start of two-a-days last season. Also in May, three lineman were in a car wreck that left Cory Almanza in a coma for almost three months. The combination of the three has brought this group together unlike ever before.
"You see coaches hugging players, [and] you see players hanging out with coaches that are crying," said head coach Steve Warren. "We are human and it hurts, but when you're able to spend time with kids like that when they have those needs and you have those needs as well, you do bond and that does make one heck of a difference in that locker room whenever it's time to really start playing the game we all love."
Chemistry is one thing that doesn't appear on a stat sheet, but it's something this group has built unlike any other.
"They probably don't know what's coming at them before it," said Scott on their opponents this season. "But on the field they're gonna realize it."
"I wouldn't want to face a team with that bond," added Senior defensive end Reese Cooke.
The bond the Eagles have is more like a family. Call it a band of brothers.
"It's definitely not just a team," said Senior wide receiver Trey Dennis. "It's definitely a brotherhood. We're one big family and always here for each other. It's a really good environment."
"It's a tremendous feeling to be able to play with [these guys]," added Senior wide receiver Reese Childress. "They literally feel like my brothers. I'd do anything for them, [and] they'd do anything for me."
That bond is dangerous, and there's no better way to head into the war-zone every Friday night.