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Eagles eager to take next step

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Vista del Lago’s football team made the playoffs for the first time last season, losing a heartbreaking game in overtime to Livingston, 24-21. The next step for the program is to win a playoff game and they will have that opportunity on Friday. The Eagles, the No. 8 seed in the Division III playoffs, will play host to Woodland at 7 p.m. at Prairie City Stadium. The Eagles enter the game with a 7-3 record, while the Wolves are 8-2. Vista earned the higher seed by being a league champion, while Woodland finished second to Inderkum in the Tri-County League. “You always want to make progress and the next step is winning that playoff game,” Vista coach Chris Jones said. “I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.” The Eagles are the No. 8 seed, but they feel like they can make some noise in the playoffs. If Vista wins Friday, they would likely face the top-seeded and unbeaten Oakdale in the second round. “Only two teams in the Division III throw the ball extremely well and that’s us and Casa Roble and the other 14 teams are primarily running teams,” Jones said. “We do things that not every team is accustomed to and sometimes that can be problematic for teams. We’re going to try to ride that to success.” To defeat Woodland, Vista is going to have to key on the Wolves’ quarterback Dalen Jones, who is not only an accurate passer, completing 62 percent of his passes for 23 touchdowns against only three interceptions, but is also the team’s leading rusher with 859 yards and nine touchdowns. He also plays defensive back and is headed to Washington State next fall on a scholarship. “When you get to the playoffs you just have to take it one game at a time,” Jones said. “We have to go out there and do what we do well and that’s throw the ball.”