Eastpointe High football coach details team’s turnaround

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 11, 2017

EASTPOINTE — Ever since he was hired on June 9, 2016, Eastpointe High football coach Roland Bell has talked about changing the culture of a program that hasn’t had much success, and it seems his dream is becoming reality.

At press time, the Shamrocks were 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division.

The team has more wins than it had combined in the last two seasons.

Eastpointe has scored 133 points thus far — 37 more than it scored in 2015 and 2016 combined. The Shamrocks have allowed 148 points and are on pace to surrender 35 points fewer than last season. It seems the program has come a long way from the 2015 season that saw Eastpointe finish 0-9 and allow 435 points — the most points surrendered in a season in program history.

Bell said he’s implemented several changes within the program, including mandatory study tables in a partnership with the Wayne State University School of Nursing and a mandatory three-day offseason weight lifting program.

Bell has also brought in several college coaches to discuss the prospects of playing at the next level and the role that education plays in that.

Earlier this season, Bell said he’s seen his players’ effort and dedication change, but that it wasn’t translating to wins. That’s changed too. After falling to Roseville High 34-13 in the season opener, the Shamrocks have won three of their last five.

The team has scored at least 20 points in each of those games. That’s a major improvement, as Eastpointe had only reached the 20-point plateau twice in the previous two seasons.

“The offensive system is mostly identical to last season,” said Bell, who likes to focus on running the ball. “It’s improved due to the individual work our players put in and the coaches encouraging them.”

Bell said the seniors have taken ownership of this year’s team. That group includes quarterback Dylan Brown, running backs Anthony Harris and Dajshawn Ferguson, wide receiver Zach Bender and defensive back Kamari Lewis.

“The seniors have impressed upon the younger players the importance of focusing on the details inside the program, in the locker room and on the field,” Bell said. “We also have a very good class of sophomores. We’ve noticed the commitment they’ve made to the team and where they can be in the next two years.”

The team’s Week 7 game against St. Clair Shores South Lake took place Oct. 6, after press time.

Eastpointe must win out in order to earn the six wins needed to secure a playoff spot. A 5-4 finish would give the Shamrocks a shot if there are not enough six-win squads to fill out the bracket.

“We have every intention of making the playoffs,” Bell said.

If that happens, it will be just the Shamrocks’ second playoff trip in program history and first since 2010.
Eastpointe’s next game is against Madison Heights Madison at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at home.