SALADO, Texas — After a bit of a revolving door in 2018, the youth and inexperience the season provided is now a strength as Salado enters the 2019 season.

According to fourth-year head coach Alan Haire, eight now-juniors started at some point during last season and are back.

One of the young returnees playing a key role in 2019 is now-sophomore QB Hutton Haire, the son of Coach Haire and third Haire to line up under center for the Eagles (Alan: 1987, Hayden: 2016-17).

The primary obstacle standing before Salado is its district: District 8-4A Div. II (No. 6 Connally, No. 8 Lorena, Madisonville, Robinson, Fairfield and Mexia).

"Week-in and week-out, you're going to have to play your best," Coach Haire said. "We wouldn't want it any other way. If you get in, you know you can make some noise and that sets you up to work hard.

"It's not the easy ones, it's the hard ones that get you where you want to be."

As usual, the Eagles pride themselves on a fast, run-heavy approach, with Hunter Turk returning to play fullback for Salado.

"We have to out-will them and beat them to the ground," Turk said. "There's nothing more we can do."

With four games to get ready for district, the Eagles know where their focuses are - speed.

"The guys we go up against in our district are usually bigger," senior defensive lineman Blake Madden said. "A lot of guys, like the linemen, are huge compared to me. So, you have to be fast."

Salado opens the season Aug. 30th against Troy at UMHB's Crusader Stadium.