It was eerily quiet and empty on the Grain Valley High School synthetic turf football field Tuesday morning, but don’t think for a minute that reigning Kansas City Chiefs’ Missouri High School Coach of the Year David Allie wasn’t getting his Eagles ready for the upcoming season.

On a sloshy, muddy practice field, located to the southwest of the school’s tennis complex, the Eagles were getting down and dirty in preparation for the season opener at Savannah High School.

“This is how great our coaching staff is,” said senior inside linebacker Tristan Pfeiffer, who was covered from head to toe in mud and guck following the spirited practice session. “We play our first game in Savannah and they are one of the only schools to have a grass field.

“So, Coach Allie has us back here in the swamp practicing. We’re going to be ready for anything weather wise at Savannah. He does stuff like that all the time – if it’s going to be a cold game and it’s warm when we practice. They put the footballs in the refrigerator so they are cold when we practice – little things like that, that give us an edge.”

Following an intense scrimmage, Allie ran his team through a back-breaking sprint drill. As many of the younger players struggled to finish, Pfeiffer was encouraging them, patting them on the back, running up and down the line shouting encouragement to his teammates – and it worked.

Even a freshman who had dropped to his knees popped back up after his senior teammate’s encouraging words.

“You want to talk about a leader?” asked Allie. “You’re talking about Tristan Pfeiffer. You know, he and our other seniors were with us four years ago when we took over the program and they have been a lot more responsible for our success than I have.

“We’re trying, trying real hard, to get football back where it was when Forrest Rovello was coaching here. The kids we have this year have a real passion for the game and we’re all excited about this season.”

The Eagles are coming off an 8-4 campaign in which they won the MRVC West championship with a 4-1 record.

“The guys learned they could win last year and everyone who was on last year’s team wants to have that same kind of success this year,” the veteran coach added. “We have eight starters back on offense and defense and need to find three replacements on the offensive line for some big-time linemen who graduated.

“We’re getting where we want to be. You know, as a coach, you always want to have a few more weeks to practice, but they’re getting after it and we’re doing our best to have them ready for that opener in Savannah – even if it means practicing back here in the ‘swamp’ behind the school.”