Mountain View, MO - Coach Darin Acklin is entering his 8th season as the head coach of the Mountain View-Birch Tree/Liberty Eagles. He is no stranger to success, but believes this year's team has the most depth of any he's coached.
HEAD COACH - Darin Acklin, 8th Season
2011 RECORD - (12-1) State quarterfinal loss to eventual state champion Lamar
RETURNING STARTERS - 8 offense, 9 defense
PLAYERS TO WATCH - Adam Niehaus (OL, DT), Cody Fidonik (OL, DL), Josiah DePriest (OL, DL), James Denton (WR)
This is a year Darin Acklin has been building towards. The Eagles have experience on both sides of the ball with 8 starters returning on offense and 9 on defense. The area where Liberty is most experienced is on the offensive and defensive lines. Acklin would like to see the talent on the offensive line pay off with an effective running game.
"We want to be able to run the football," said Acklin. "I don't care if it's pouring down rain or the wind is blowing 50 miles an hour, we're putting a big emphasis on running the football and stopping the run."
The Eagles are used to winning, but this season Liberty has high expectations to win and advance deep into the playoffs.
"In the last 4 years when we've been winning, we've probably over achieved a little bit," said Acklin. "We didn't really expect to win 9, 11 or 12 games, so this year we have higher expectations."
Liberty has high expectations due to the number of returning play makers, including wide receiver James Denton.
"This is the first time in a longtime we've had 3 consecutive classes that are pretty strong," said Acklin. "We have good depth, 2 deep, sometimes 3 deep at every position."
The community is rallying around this Liberty team.
"Since about April and May people have been coming to me saying I can't wait. We had the biggest scrimmage crowd that we've ever had, it was almost like a home game, there was a lot of people."
Liberty opens the season August 24th hosting Caruthersville.