CHARLESTON, W.Va. - When Eddie Smolder accepted the head coaching position of the Sissonville football program in 2011, he took over a winless team in need of direction.
They took a step in 2011 with two victories before Smolder guided the Indians to a respectable 5-5 record last year that saw Sissonville lose its regular season finale to Braxton County with a playoff berth on the line.
Smolder hopes to continue to build on the team's turnaround, and is working hard during the ongoing three-week out-of-season coaching period to do just that.
"We have made progress the last two years," Smolder said. "When I took over an 0-10 team, we won two games the first year, and five the past year. Our goal is to keep getting better.
"Things are going great right now. We have 47 kids out. We are working hard, trying to get better every day, and that's our main goal. We want to be the best we can be on August 31 for our first game."
Sissonville has participated in one 7-on-7 scrimmage, and has another scrimmage scheduled this week, but Smolder has put a major emphasis on using the three weeks on the practice field against each other, putting his offensive and defensive schemes together.
"We went to a 7-on-7 in Chapmanville, and Hoover is coming here, which is fine. It is what it is," Smolder said. "It's good to compete, but we compete between ourselves every day. We have our whole offense and defense put in. We are just utilizing the time we have."
If Sissonville is going to continue the build, the Indians must do so without a pair of standouts lost to graduation in running back Trent Stowers and quarterback Austin Crawford, who will play at Glenville State in the fall.
Stowers had a big season in 2012, scoring 18 touchdowns, rushing for 1166 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also piling up 421 receiving yards and six more scores. Crawford threw for 1,023 yards and threw 12 touchdowns and just six interceptions.