PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) -- An unscathed, 14-0 season came to an end in the Class 5A state title game for head coach John Hines and the Pulaski County Maroons last year, getting wiped out by Bowling Green 49-14.
"He stresses to us that it's history -- ancient history he says a lot," sophomore wide receiver Jake Johnson said.
Johnson was spot-on with his remark.
"That is as ancient history as the very first team that ever played so it's a brand new team, brand new season," head coach John Hines said.
Fastforward eight months later and the Maroons have almost everybody back on offense, including a near 3,000-yard passer in Riley Hall, a receiving duo that caught 23 touchdowns and a 1,000-yard rusher in Caleb Cox.
Also back is tight end Mason Helton, who had to sit out the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in the third game of the season versus North Hardin.
Experience and chemistry won't be a problem - on or off the field.
"We wall went to Steak 'n Shake one day and nine guys as a team, we ordered 58 steak patties and Caleb Cox himself ate a burger that was 10 patties high," junior quarterback Riley Hall said. "And he ate it in under five minutes. I couldn't believe it."
Despite the talent he will have to work with, Hines deflects all pressure for this year.
"I heard Dale Earnhardt one time in an interview asked if he ever had a plan to win all those championships and all those races. What was his plan - five, 10 year plan - and he laughed and said, 'I never had a plan. The only thing on my mind was how am I going to win that race this weekend.' And that's the way we operate," Hines said.
But there's no question Pulaski County is one of the favorites. The offense is expected to be loaded, and the same mindset on the other side of the ball is true.
Hunter Merrick, Senior Defensive End: "We are not the biggest guys on the field but the speed is where we are strong," senior defensive end Hunter Merrick said. "The offensive line, it doesn't matter how good you are, you are going to have to be fast to stop us cuz I mean we will hit gaps fast."
The Maroons start with Corbin and then end the regular season with Bowling Green - yes, a rematch of last year's title game - on Halloween night.
"It's going to be crazy," Johnson said. "The town and this place is going to be packed I think. Halloween night, I mean it's going to be wild."
"It'll be a challenge for us and we are looking forward to it, and that's the reason why we wanted to schedule them: to redeem ourselves and hopefully come out with a victory," Hall said.