"He hurt his ankle pretty bad against Scott in Week 4,'' Smolder said, "and didn't play the next week against Wayne. He hasn't been 100 percent the last two, three weeks, but we're glad he's healed up. He kept working and continued to be a leader.
"He played in a couple of our losses after [the injury] and never was 100 percent, and when you're big and athletic and play running back and linebacker, having a sprained ankle limits what you can do. He taped it up, sucked it up and gave us what he had even though he wasn't 100 percent. The other kids see that mentality and play harder for him. He's a good inspiration. That's the nature of the beast with football - you're not always going to feel great.''
Quarterback Austin Crawford has given the Indians a decent passing game this season, hitting on 71 of 126 attempts for 967 yards and 11 TDs.
The Eagles also have a go-to player in their QB, Jacob Yanero.
Yanero leads the team in rushing (1,143 yards, 12 TDs) and has thrown for 465 yards and five more scores.
"Obviously, he's a good player,'' Smolder said, "but he's not their only player. You go into your most important game of the year, and there's a lot more to it than that. We've got a game plan we're going to put in place and execute it to the best of our ability.
"It doesn't matter what they do, or what they've got. We've got to do what we can do with what we've got.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.