Coach Darren Waters believes the football team is ready to make a statement, beginning with the opener Friday, Aug. 30, at home against Mifflin.
"We're coming off a 10-1 season and people have questioned our schedule," Waters said. "We're going into the LCL and will play against bigger schools. We tweaked our non-league schedule to prepare for that. Because we're in the LCL, there will be more computer points available to us. So we don't have to go 10-0 to make the playoffs now. You want to win every game, but it's not a necessity.
"I understand the reasons why others might've doubted us before. So we don't mind kind of flying under the radar. But I'm sure the boys have enough pride that they want to change people's perspectives. I wouldn't say we have something to prove, but ..."
Mifflin went 7-3 last season. The Punchers lost most of their skill-position players to graduation but return a lot of experienced linemen.
"I've got four out of my five offensive linemen from last year returning and I don't know if all of them can make the starting lineup," coach Gregg Miller said. "Some of them got in the weight room, and we had a couple move-ins. I'm probably three deep on the offensive line."
The Hornets return seven starters on both sides of the ball and have 24 letterwinners.
Adrian Myrthil will be the quarterback in the I-formation offense. Kendall Bradley (RB), John Neary (FB) and Aaron Tiller (H-back) can line up in the backfield, and David Lancaster and Doug Benniefield are the top receivers. Cameron Claborn and Mike Hopewell are both two-way linemen.
In the 4-4 defense, Neary and Darrell Kelso are inside linebackers, Tiller and Ross Friel are ends, Benniefield is at outside linebacker and Myrthil is in the secondary.