The running back bursts through the lane created by his skilled offensive line, weaving and dashing past the crew of linebackers desperate to keep him from the end zone. Just before he breaks into the open field, a defensive back catches his arm, stripping the ball free. Both sides fly for the loose pigskin at full force, forsaking their bodies for the sake of the game. If you didn’t know any better, you might think that the game is a midseason slugfest between two rivals. Such is the heart and competitive spirit of this Prosper Eagles team — a team that showed off their collective talents in the annual spring games last week.

The Junior Varsity and Varsity teams divided in half to face off in separate, one-hour games to mark the start of summer season at Prosper High School. While the teams didn’t keep score, that didn’t prevent the coaches from taking stock in their squad — and liking what they saw.

“The defense did a great job, and the offensive line played extremely well,” head coach Brandon Schmidt said. “And we made it through without any injuries, which is always what we hope for.”

Nevertheless, the athletes on both teams played with the kind of ferocity that Schmidt knows will help them improve on last year’s 7-4 record. That mark was good enough to earn Prosper a district championship, but the coaching staff and the players have set the bar much higher for the upcoming season.

“Our goal is to win playoff games, plain and simple,” Schmidt said. “And with this team, we can do that.”

Veteran Eagles such as seniors Blake Harrington and Armon Johnson showed off the skills that have made them key starters over the last couple of seasons, but Thursday’s games were ultimately team efforts on both sides of the ball. The JV and Varsity skirmishes offered a first-look at the harmony the Eagles hope to bring to every fall contest — a harmony that Schmidt knows will be key to his team’s success.

“We have tremendous leadership, and I think that will separates us from other teams,” he said.

The head coach was hard-pressed to single out just one or two premier performers, instead focusing on a few key units.

“Our offensive line, our linebacking corps and our secondary were all really strong,” he said. “And they’ll only get better with the help of some of our veterans.”

Nevertheless, there’s always room for improvement, and the head ball coach knows at least one ingredient is key to improving upon last year’s showing.

“We need to develop that killer instinct,” he said. “And we’re more than capable of doing that. Once we do, we’ll be as good as any team we face.”