Pineville (WYMT) -- The Pineville Mountain Lions enter the 2013 season with a cliché state of mind.
"Offense sells tickets,” senior Dalton Ledbetter said. “But defense wins games."
Pineville will start freshman Tucker Wollum at quarterback, making defense that much more important.
"I think we have continued to improve every year and now that we are seniors, I just feel like we all know what it takes,” Ledbetter said. “We have all been there before and I think we can go further than we have."
A core of eight starters return for the Mountain Lions. But head coach Bart Elam is hardly makes that a factor.
"They say, ‘Coach, you have your whole team back!’ Well if that team cannot play the year before, it doesn't really matter,” Elam said. “We want our kids to compete for starting jobs."
The Mountain Lions finished third in Class-A District 6 last season and still won a road playoff game, rushing for three touchdowns while using three different running backs. Two of those backs graduated, but senior Connor Ford returns and will have a lead role in 2013.
"We have got 10 senior leaders that are capable of leading the guys in every direction,” Ford, who rushed for more than 600 yards last season,” said. “We had to -- on and off the field -- show these guys how a classy football player acts and then that carries over to on the field."
Expectations are high in 2013. Pineville wants to host a playoff game. Achieving that goal started with the offseason conditioning program.
"Everyone works hard,” senior linebacker Matt Hubbard said. “When we come into that weight room, it's serious. As soon as we walk in there, it's like, 'Let's go! Let's get started! Let's get it right!' Seeing as I'm a senior, you have only got one year. Give it your best shot."