For the fourth time in four seasons, the Millersport High School football team will be guided by a new coach.

For the fourth time in four seasons, the Millersport High School football team will be guided by a new coach.

This time, the Lakers hired a familiar face, however, as Rob Wiseman gets his first stint as head varsity coach.

He takes over for Tom Parry, who, unlike Wiseman, was not a teacher in the school district and had no previous ties with the Lakers.

Wiseman has coached many sports in the district from middle school to high school and has been on the football staff since 1999.

"Being a first-time head football coach has me excited," Wiseman said. "But I'm always excited for football season and I'm excited about this season because I think we could surprise some people."

There isn't any way to go but up for the Lakers, who finished 0-10 overall and 0-7 in the MSL-Cardinal Division. They were outscored 541-16 last season when they were one of three teams in Division VI, Region 23 to go winless.

Millersport was shut out eight times, scoring only in a 20-3 loss to Corning Miller in the second week of the season and in a 41-13 loss to Fisher Catholic in the fourth week. Corning Miller finished 1-9.

"We ran into a lot of trouble last season and had a lot of freshmen playing before they were ready to compete," Wiseman said.

The Lakers have 20 letterwinners on their 32-player roster, including 10 seniors.

Wiseman said the team will run various "old-school offenses," including wing-T, wishbone, veer and power-I.

Leaders in the backfield will be senior running backs Cody Allison and Jeff Maynard and junior quarterback Preston Wiseman, the coach's son. Senior Chris Mays is expected to be the top receiver. The line will be anchored by senior guards David Bruckelmeyer and Justin Carpenter

"We've got a good senior class, we're more skilled than we've been in a while and we have pretty good speed," coach Wiseman said. "We've got a lot of kids who have run track. We also did more power-lifting in the winter than we had in the past.

"Depth is always a concern for us, plus we lack size. Our average on the line is probably near 170 pounds. We're the smallest public school by far in the league. It's difficult for us because we have about 100 boys. You take away the ones who are ineligible and, for the most part, the rest are either playing football or in the band. Another problem is that there is no offseason for our athletes. They play football, basketball then run track or play baseball. They're always in season for one sport or another, so offseason work is hard to achieve. That puts us behind the 8-ball."

Millersport will originate in a 3-5 defense to utilize its speed.

"It gives us more freedom to use our speed," coach Wiseman said of scheme. "Because of our lack of size, we have to really stress fundamentals, techniques and strategies. We need to use our quickness and, as coaches, we need to find matchups against our opponents where we can utilize our quickness."

Three of the five linebackers will be Allison, Maynard and fellow senior D.J. Gabriel.

"Gabriel will be a key player for us," coach Wiseman said. "He loves to hit and he loves to blitz. He's a cornerback-slash-linebacker. Allison is also a big hitter."

Bruckelmeyer will play at end, with Carpenter at nose tackle. Senior Markus Johnson, who coach Wiseman called a "true head hunter" will be at free safety.

"We're still growing into our responsibilities, but the good news is that we should have the ability to practice hard against ourselves. In the past, we had trouble doing that because we have so many two-way players. Our second-team guys weren't able to give them any kind of challenge in practices. But we have such a mix of kids, with good talent from our freshmen to juniors. For the first time in some time, we've got some depth."

It's that starting point the Lakers look forward to after a string of tough seasons. Last season they finished last in the MSL-Cardinal behind co-champions Liberty Union and West Jefferson (6-1).

"We're underdogs. Everyone is picking us to finish last, but we couldn't be in a better place," coach Wiseman said.

"We've got nothing to lose and we like being the underdog. I'm looking forward to reading all the negative talk about us on JJHuddle. That keeps my engine running and we're looking forward to trying to change those remarks."