Beckley head football coach Street Sarrett will never be confused with Steve Perry from the rock group Journey.
However, Sarrett has been the embodiment of the Journey classic, “Don’t Stop Believing.”
The veteran coach for the Flying Eagles never stopped believing in the process and more importantly, Sarrett never stopped believing in his players.
Following some well documented struggles after he first took over as head coach, Beckley reached the state football playoffs last year for the first time since 2014.
“It is never about me. I am just the head coach and the losses are on me, but I am glad they have that feeling now of going to the playoffs. It is big for us,” Sarrett said. “It definitely adds some excitement to our program. We started working on it six years ago. We had some down years, but now they have a taste of what it is like to go to the playoffs, winning, and beating some rivals.”
“We were in some tight games last year and we won an overtime game that was big for us. Moving forward these guys understand the hard work they have to put in to get back there.”
Making the trip to the postseason even more special was the dramatic way that the Flying Eagles accomplished that goal.
A win over longtime rival Oak Hill and an eye-opening triumph on the road at Class AAA defending state champion South Charleston secured the coveted playoff berth.
“The formula has always been there. It’s just about hard work. The group that is out here right now, they have bought into that formula and it shows that hard work pays off,” Sarrett said prior to the playoff game last year.
Now the Flying Eagles will look to build off that momentum, but they do have some key spots to fill left by graduation.
The process has kicked into high gear during the three-week summer period allowed by the WVSSAC.
“We are trying to find guys in some spots and right now we are letting them play whatever position they want,” Sarrett said. “You never know when you might find a diamond in the rough. We are also looking to see who will work. We will be putting in some offense and defense, as well as going to some 7-on-7’s. We are trying to have as much fun as we can.”
Even though it is early in the process, Sarrett likes what he sees from his group of players.
“Hard workers. Hard workers, man,” Sarrett said about his group. “It’s summer time and average kids would be at the pool, but these kids are out here wanting to get better for Beckley football. The (freshman) got right in the weight room lifting and getting after it. There will be some tough young men in that group.”
The two biggest shoes to fill this year will be spots left by quarterback Maddex McMillen who is now at Marshall and Keynan Richardson-Cook who moved on to catch balls for Georgetown University.
The early 7-on-7 work has given Beckley some ideas on who may step into those roles.
“We are finding quarterbacks and we are finding receivers. We are finding guys that want to go out and make plays and get after some balls,” Sarrett said. “A lot of young guys are stepping in there and that’s really nice.”
While this group of Flying Eagles may not have a bunch of household names just yet, Sarrett feels he has plenty of players who can get the job done this coming season.
“We feel like we will have a bunch of guys where one guy is hot one night and another guy is hot the next night. This group just wants to play football. We are going to be the same team we were last year. We will just be plugging new guys into some spots. It is next guy up for us. We have to show up, work every day and be full speed with no distractions.”
Beckley opens the season Aug. 26 at Riverside.