Pender Patriots have Eanes back for first fall season in second stint


BURGAW, N.C. (WWAY) — Tom Eanes is the winningest coach in Patriot football history.

He went 58-37 in his first 7 seasons and took the team to a state title game. After his last season in 2011, a 12-3 season, it’s safe to say the Patriots took a step back – winning 17 total games since that season.

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“We are starting to get better we just aren’t quite there yet. So I’m really looking forward to some of the magic coming back,” said Eanes about his return. “It’s going to be a lot of hard work and up to these young men – how bad to they want it?”

And if you ask the Patriots, they want it, and they are happy to have him back.

“It means a lot because he brought the greatness to this school. And ever since then it’s been gone,” said quarterback Antonio Bea. “So now we are just trying to bring it back with him and with him that’s the major piece.”

“He’s an amazing coach. He came here, he changed everything,” said senior defensive end and offensive guard Javonte Brown. “He turned us in to some dogs.”

Offensively, they run the option. The team only completed 10 passes in a pandemic-shortened season in the spring, under his first season back.

“Everybody on the field is a running back at every moment. It just moves on defensive shifts, how they align where they attack,” said Bea. “Our main focus is blocking because the more blocking we do the more touches we get.”

On defense, the unit features Chris Spencer, a defensive tackle that currently holds 6 division 1 offers. Brown says the entire squad has some bark to it.

“We some dogs man. All my players, we got good players. It’s a lot of us out there. We’re a unit. We’re a family – we fight together,” said Brown.

“Our lineman do a good job attacking the ball. Our linebackers do a good job. Corners, lockdown. Pender Patriots football, defense plays a big part,” said linebacker and running back Brandon Williams.

The Patriots open play Friday at home against Lejuene.