Despite an 0-9 mark in his first year at Circle, coach Heath Hutchinson’s optimism did not dim.
“We have two choices: We can lay down or get better,” he said. “We’re going to get better.
“The program is on the rise, and the kids are buying in. So we’re excited about all that. Everything’s good; the only thing that didn’t show up was the (record).”
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Circle has three seniors and will field a team of mostly juniors and sophomores – but it is a squad that is battle-tested from last season.
“We’re really heavy in the ‘middle’ classes – which is a good problem to have for the future,” Henderson said.
He said he expects to show improvement right away.
“This year, we plan on being substantially better than last year,” he said. “(We’ve got) a newcomer or two that’s pretty good, and just the overall experience of everybody.”
Henderson has two underclassmen vying to be the starting quarterback – junior Steven Winningham and sophomore Lane Coulter.
“Steve started last year, had a little success,” Henderson said. “Lane had a real good summer; we’re excited about his potential – he has the potential to do some different things. They’ll both be on the field somewhere.”
The depth on offensive and defensive lines is a strong point, Henderson said.
“We have everybody coming back, and that creates a lot more competition (for playing time),” he said. “We have a couple of kids who have the potential to be good ball carriers for us, so we’ll let their play do the talking this year.”
Among the bright spots from last year was an increase in turnout, Henderson said.
“We grew from 17 kids to 50 kids,” he said. “We scored far more points with far less talent. We gave up less points than the year before with a lot less talent. We finished strong, and not only that, we carried that into the off-season, where we have kids who really, really compete.”