Expanding their wings

By Anthony Rhoads

The North Clayton Eagles are flying high this season.

They're 6-0 and are guaranteed of their first winning season since 2000.

What has been the formula for success this year? Many factors have gone into the winning streak.

First off, the team has played stingy defense. The Eagles' defense has allowed 8.5 points per game and has put up two shutouts. They've also created turnovers, which has put the offense in good field position.

On offense, the team is led by sophomore quarterback Morgan Burnett, who has torched opposing defenses all year.

"He's an outstanding player and I'm glad he's playing for me," North Clayton head coach Don Shockley said. "The good thing is he's still learning. He came in as a freshman last year and he's seeing things much better now. But he's not doing it by himself. He's got a lot of guys around him who are making the blocks and making the plays."

The North Clayton offense has averaged 34 points per game and has had few turnovers.

Saturday, the Eagles will put their winning streak on the line as they travel to DeKalb Memorial Stadium to take on Southwest DeKalb.

"The season has been really great," North Clayton head coach Don Shockley said. "The guys are playing really well. The guys are playing really well on defense."

North Clayton has found ways to win this year. They team has blown out three opponents but has also come out ahead in three close games, including last week in a 22-14 victory over Mays.

"We're finding ways to win," Shockley said. "That shows the character of the kids. We were losing to Mt. Zion 6-0 but came back and were down by 14 against Mays but came back. Number one, it goes back to practice and it goes back to the character of the kids."

Shockley expects a tough contest against Southwest DeKalb. The Panthers aren't a dominating team this and are just 3-3 going into this week but Shockley isn't taking them lightly.

"You've got to respect what coach (Buck) Godfrey has done over the years and his players are going to be ready to play," Shockley said. "The player kind of remind of Mays ? they're big, fast and they play hard. It's going to be a tough ball game."