High expectations are nothing new to the Kinder Yellow Jackets, who've made trips to the dome in three of the past four seasons. This senior class has won 38 games in their three years.
"We still have a big core of guys that are still here from that 2015 state championship team that we're going to look upon for leadership," said Kinder head coach Bret Fuselier.
And leadership is one area Kinder isn't lacking in.
Senior lineman Joey McNeely and linebacker Jordan Cordova believe the Jackets are once again primed for a strong finish.
"I just wanna go undefeated honestly," admitted Cordova. "I know that’s gonna be hard, but we can do it. I feel we can do it."
"We lost a lot of players, but we have a lot returning. We're fast on defense. Our offense, we have a lot of players stepping up this year," McNeely said. "We look good right now."
Offensively, the Jackets have big shoes to fill after losing their all-time leading rusher, Taylor Johnson, to graduation.
"You never look at replacing one guy with one guy. Everybody has their role and everybody is gonna have to accept their role," said Fuselier. "That’s how you replace seniors graduating. Everybody has their part on this team this year and as long as everybody steps up and does their part, we’ll be fine."
The offensive and defensive lines are the team's least experienced units. Kinder has to replace four out of five starters on offense and three of four on defense.
"If you had to look on paper, in that group, we do have a lot of question marks. But every year at this time, everything is a question mark. You've just got see how guys progress and how guys develop," Fuselier said. "I think that we have some guys on both sides of the ball that are ready to step up and take those roles."
With returning experience and a high-end defense, Kinder looks primed to make another title run.
"That’s the ultimate goal," McNeely admitted, "to get back to the state championship and take it."
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