War Eagles soaring in first season

The Western Dakota War Eagles have rattled off four straight wins to put themselves very much into the thick of the Midwest Premier Football League's playoff race with a 4-1 record ...

Bay District Schools high school varsity football tickets have changed prices. (MGN Image)

May said, "When I first came on board, based on the semi-pro teams I've seen around here in the past, I didn't really know what to expect. I'm beyond pleased with the level of guys we have right now. It reminds me of some of the college teams I played on. We've got kids from all over, two hours away one direction, myself personally and a bunch of kids coming from Harding County that way and kids from all three tribal nations West River, bunch of local boys who are just signed up and are really just beating down whoever you put in front of us, teams that have been around for years, we're the first-year expansion team coming in and cleaning house."

Former Black Hills State and Hot Springs standout Eriq Swiftwater hopes the team can boost West River football as a whole while also giving players on the team an opportunity to advance in the game.

Swiftwater said, "They kind of preached to me the idea of building up a good, strong football foundation here in South Dakota, especially here on the western side of things and me being a local kid here, playing my high school football down in Hot Springs and college up there at Black Hills, it kind of intrigued me more because I do have a lot of pride in where I'm from and the city I represent."

May says the players have been quick studies and adjust to the ups and downs of amateur football nicely.

May said, "The guys are outstanding, the best bunch of guys I've ever been around, I couldn't ask for a better squad, so they're real eager to get better and I'm real eager to help them get better."

The War Eagles dropped their first game of the season to Northern Colorado but have won four in a row, including handing first-place Tri-City its only loss.

Swiftwater said, "It's been a blast so far, you know, it's been a while since I've had this much fun playing football again and the teams we play, we travel around Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado and stuff like that, and they're not terrible teams by far. You meet ballplayers everywhere you go and it's nice to showcase what we here in South Dakota got."

For May, having players like quarterback Matt Bailey and Swiftwater has been a joy and a big part of the War Eagles' initial success.

May said, "Swiftwater's a household name in a lot of places and has been since high school. He and I are actually from the same reservation so I've known who the kid was since he was pretty much old enough to pick up a football pretty much and it's my honor to get a chance to coach him. It's actually the first time I've ever met him, I just used to have to watch him beat all the teams I was rooting for so it's great to have him, absolutely fantastic."