Leslie County (WYMT) -- For some Leslie County players, this is their last chance to make history.
"[This is our] last go around,” senior running back and linebacker Thomas Caldwell said. “Last time I'll ever play with all my friends.”
The Eagles finished with five wins and six losses, including a first round playoff loss to Lexington Christian last season. Improvement starts with maturing.
"We just got to focus on the little things,” senior running back and linebacker Aaron Clark said. “Little things, in the long run, matter the most."
New and young. Kevin Whitaker, a sophomore, will start at quarterback. Despite the youth, Whitaker has senior leadership from inside and out.
"I think this year's team works 10 times more,” senior wide receiver Stefan Lewis said. “We give effort every day. If it's lifting, if it's special teams practice, anything, we give it our all every day."
"Everybody has gotten stronger and more physical, senior middle linebacker Ryan Napier said.. “Everybody is learning and listening to coach whenever he goes over drills and stuff."
"A lot of these guys,” head coach Eddie Melton said. “They spend a lot of time hanging out with one another, even off the field, you know, still together – outside of football. And that's always a good thing. It shows a tighter bond than you see sometimes in your teams and it's definitely a positive thing."
Leadership is a factor, but teamwork may be the theme.
"For our line to play well and come together, we all will have to act and feel like just a band of brothers,” senior lineman Scott Begley said.
The Eagles beat Betsy Lane and Shelby Valley, but they do not want to be a runner-up in the district anymore. They want to beat Prestonsburg, too.
"Any game is a challenge, and we take it one game at a time,” said Gabe Lewis, who will be playing both linebacker and running back this season. “To win a district, it's going to take heart, it's going to take one 110 percent, it's going to take your everything."