Eagles washed anew in Beautiful Eagle Creek

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - To some, it's just a drainage ditch on the side of a road.

To Georgia Southern Eagles, it's Beautiful Eagle Creek. These sacred waters sit calmly most of the year, quietly anticipating days like Friday.

After practice, the Eagle seniors and new coaches took a dip in the sacred pool as part of the annual Eagle Creek Baptism.

"Just knowing the tradition, I'm just excited to get in there," says senior running back Wesley Fields. "It's my last time, my last go round. So I'm just excited and blessed."

It was first year head coach Chad Lunsford's second time taking part in the Eagle Creek ritual. He got his first Statesboro baptism when he first joined the Georgia Southern football staff years ago.

He says this ritual is a way to bless the players' and coaches' commitment to the Blue and White.

"It just symbolizes all the hard work they've put in for four years," Lunsford says. "Hopefully it's something that reminds them they've got to give it everything they've got every single play, every single time we take the field."

For some, like Americus native Fields, jumping in the creek is no big deal.

"Getting in this water is just real easy to me," he laughs. "I did kind of feel something touch my leg, but it is what it is."

However, others had to overcome a little trepidation before treading into the shin-deep water. It may not be the prettiest tradition in sports, but it is one of this program's favorites.

This year's ritual had a little extra meaning.

After two long years in Statesboro, the Eagles are determined to start new under Lunsford, who says today's ceremony may be just the cleansing this program needs.

"It's definitely something to say this is the brand new start, this is the brand new era," Lunsford says. "This is definitely something we can kick it off with."