The Hartley High School football program will celebrate its 50-year anniversary.

The Hartley High School football program will celebrate its 50-year anniversary.

It also will boast a new turf field and new scoreboard.

Second-year coach Brad Burchfield thinks his team can give Hawks' fans even more however.

Hartley returns plenty of players on both sides of the ball from a team that finished 7-4 overall after losing 20-6 to Martins Ferry 20-6 in a first-round Division IV playoff game.

The Hawks lost the lone CCL-Gold Division contest 52-6 to Ready.

Although Hartley posted a winning record and earned a playoff berth, Burchfield said the Hawks are entering the season without specific goals or expectations.

"I never want to put any level of expectations on the kids," said Burchfield, whose team will open Friday at Centennial. "But ultimately, every kid and every team wants to become the very best in Ohio."

Quarterback Austin Underwood offered a more concrete idea of what the Hawks are expecting this season.

"We want to make it back to the playoffs and we want to see just how far we can go," Underwood said.

"It was a good step to make it to the playoffs last season, but we want more," said Noah Key, who will play running back and defensive back.

After a full offseason with the team Burchfield has been impressed with the results from the workouts and training.

"They're great kids, and we asked a lot out of them this offseason. So far, they've exceeded those expectations," Burchfield said. "It's a year-round commitment and our kids have come back bigger, faster and stronger than they were a year ago."

Offensively Hartley will run a similar scheme to last season when the Hawks used a spread offense to open up a strong running game. Most of the athletes on offense return.

Leading the way will be Evan Jackson (OL), Key (RB), Underwood (QB) and Geoffrey Whiteside (RB). Whiteside led the team in rushing and receiving and again figures to be a focal point of the offense. Key, who was third on the team in rushing, will also get regular touches.

"Geoffrey has always been a physical guy but this year he's bigger, he's faster and he's a lot stronger," Burchfield said. "Noah is going to be a good one as well.

"You know I think the same idea still applies on offense. We want to spread the ball around and let the kids do with the ball what they will. We want to make opposing teams defend everybody, everywhere."

Whiteside said the new turf field will help the offense.

"That's going to give us a big advantage since we already have great team speed," Whiteside said.

On defense, the Hawks will use an eight-man front aimed at putting a lot of pressure on opposing teams and taking advantage of their speed.

The defense will feature Jackson (DL), Key (DB), Corey McSweeney (LB) and Whiteside (DB). McSweeney led the team in tackles with 101.

"Corey is physical and strong, but he's also a great leader for our defense and our team," Burchfield said. "Defensively, we want to be physical and play our eight-man front, but we also want to be able to adapt for a spread offense. We're pretty simple on defense. We just want to be strong in our fundamentals."

The schedule has changed. Hartley dropped the Columbus Crusaders, Madison Plains and New Lexington and has replaced those teams with games at Columbus Grove (Oct. 2), at home against Gallipolis Gallia Academy (Oct. 16) and at Dayton Thurgood Marshall (Oct. 9).

The CCL-Gold championship game against Ready will be Oct. 30 at Dublin Scioto.

"Ready will be a good game, but we've got to look forward to the rest of the games first," White said. "We have a clear vision of what Ready did to us and we want to work together to be more physical and mentally tougher. Last season we played good football even in the losses -- except for the Ready game."

Though the Hawks would like avenge last season's loss to Ready, White said the previous nine weeks will determine what type of team they will be.

"We have a lot of kids back," he said. "Every team by sheer time takes on its own personality. Our team still needs to develop its own personality, its own culture and its success."