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Abilene High learns life lessons from disappointing season

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ABILENE, Texas - Saying the 2017 football season has been rocky for Abilene High would be an understatement.

After being picked to repeat as District 3-6A champions in the pre-season by Dave Campbell's Texas Football, the Eagles will miss the playoffs even if they beat Keller Timber Creek on Friday.

However, through this difficult year the team has learned lessons that will help them in the future, and not just on the football field.

"You've just got to keep going. Life isn't always fair. Things happen in life and you've got to get up everyday," head coach Del Van Cox said. "When you've got a family, everything's not going to be all peachy. You're going to get sick some days and you've got to get up and provide for that family."

Abilene High lost to Keller 35-21 to drop their records to 2-7 overall and 1-4 in district.

The Eagles reached the third round of the playoffs in 2016, but a large senior class filled with key players graduated, leaving a void of experienced athletes that grew deeper with several injuries throughout this year.

"Things haven't gone their way, but they've kept working and that's what I'm really proud of," said Cox.

Abilene High will finish the season against Timber Creek, which still has a shot at making the postseason. Cox said the team is motivated to finish strong for themselves.

"[We want to] end on a good note. You can learn lots of lessons by not winning games, but it's a lot better to learn them while you're winning games," smiled Cox.

"The thing I want these guys to learn is you keep working and things are going to happen."

Friday marks the final game for 32 Abilene High seniors, and Cox said he would give more opportunities for them on Senior Night.

The Eagles will be tasked with slowing down Falcon receiver Erik Ezukanma, who has 35 catches for 658 yards and 9 touchdowns this season and has received more than a dozen scholarship offers from FBS schools.

Cox also said this is the first time since 1998 that Abilene High will play a game with no chance of making the playoffs.

Kick-off on Friday night is at 7:30 at Shotwell Stadium.

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