Alex Minnillo, a senior wide receiver and defensive back for the Grandview Heights High School football team, has been reminded of 2005 as the Bobcats prepare for the 2010 season.

Alex Minnillo, a senior wide receiver and defensive back for the Grandview Heights High School football team, has been reminded of 2005 as the Bobcats prepare for the 2010 season.

Five years ago, Minnillo was just the little brother of lineman Max Minnillo and wide receiver and defensive back Jack Minnillo.

That season, Grandview returned 18 letterwinners and went on to win the MSL-Cardinal Division championship and make the program's first postseason appearance since 1987.

Since then, Jason Peters has taken over as coach, and winning seasons have eluded the Bobcats.

With 19 starters back from a year ago, however, Grandview appears ready to duplicate the same kind of success it achieved in 2005.

"I was there the whole time," said Alex Minnillo, whose team opens Friday at Utica looking to avenge a 20-14 overtime loss a year ago. "I saw my brother Max's class step up, grab the team and pick them up. That senior class really led them."

Minnillo is one of eight seniors on the current roster for the Bobcats, who finished 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the MSL-Cardinal to place fourth last season behind West Jefferson (7-0), Liberty Union (6-1) and Licking Heights (5-2).

Rounding out the league standings were Harvest Prep (2-5), Fisher Catholic (2-5) and Millersport (0-7).

"The kids are more experienced and know what's going on," said Peters, who is entering his fourth season. "They've done a great job picking up little changes we made and we're a lot further along. It's good and bad.

"There is more pressure on the kids to win, but the kids are in a better position to win."

The returnees are well aware of that pressure, but they are trying to channel it in a positive direction.

"We've been improving every season," said senior offensive and defensive lineman Ryan Schofield. "It's extra motivation to step up to the occasion and provide one of those great years people will remember."

Schofield is one of four returning starters on the offensive line along with senior Dan Satterthwaite (right tackle), junior Will Heydinger (left guard) and sophomore Andy Treasure (right guard).

Junior Carter Jump should start at left tackle after playing most of last season on the defensive line, and senior Nate Webb will provide depth at right guard and right tackle.

"This is a good group on the offensive line," Peters said. "They pride themselves on the fact they want to be good and they want to succeed and see everyone else succeed. They know it starts with them."

In the offseason, the football program developed a power-lifting club in order to highlight the importance of weight training.

"We're always a well-conditioned team," Webb said. "But we're a lot stronger this year than in years past. Practices have been more physical.

"There used to be only three to four guys who can push everyone around. Now it's about half the team and there's a lot of power out there."

Junior quarterback Oliver Rouch returns after starting all 10 games last season.

He completed 51 percent of his passes for 1,072 yards and 12 touchdowns with five interceptions. He also led the Bobcats in rushing with 565 yards and five touchdowns.

"Oliver is a lot more physically developed," Peters said. "His arm is a little stronger and he's more savvy in the pocket. He's ready to burst onto the scene."

Tyler Fitzgerald, the Bobcats' leading receiver last season, graduated. He finished with 20 catches for 403 yards and five touchdowns.

In his place, sophomore Payton Jones returns. Last season, Jones saw action at receiver and running back and had 322 yards of total offense with six touchdowns.

Grandview also returns junior Jason Franks at running back, who finished with 249 yards and two touchdowns.

Although Grandview's total numbers increased from 33 players to 40 this year, depth is still an issue.

Numerous offensive players also contribute to Grandview's 4-3 defense, including Franks (LB), Heydinger (LB), Jones (CB), Jump (DL), Rouch (S), Treasure (LB) and Webb (LB), as well as senior running back and linebacker Colin Ridgeway.

"We have had a lot of people step up to give more people breaks," Schofield said. "Last year there were times a lot of us would never step off the field during games - offense, defense and special teams. This year we're planning on more rotations to give us a little break."

With so many experienced players back, Peters is hoping for a more consistent performance from week to week that will produce more victories.

But if Grandview is to do just that, it must once again call on a similar trait of that 2005 team.

"They had an attitude," Satterthwaite said. "In the past few years, we haven't had that winning attitude. This season you notice it. It's a big change. We have a real positive attitude."