Grove City Christian football coach Hank Patterson saw several bright spots in what turned out to be an up-and-down season.
The Eagles finished 3-7 overall and 1-3 in the MSL-Cardinal Division, but Patterson remains optimistic about his program.
"We hope to be a better team, better and stronger next season," he said. "When one becomes more fit you can be more aggressive because you have a little more confidence. I'm hoping that they buy into that and see the benefits of conditioning. It's a process."
Junior Christian Lautenschleger (RB/LB) is the main reason behind Patterson's optimism. Lautenschleger led the Eagles in rushing with 550 yards and six touchdowns on 122 carries and added 118 yards receiving and a touchdown.
"It was really frustrating this season," said Lautenschleger, who was named first-team all-league. "We did have a lot of younger kids and not a lot of experienced kids because for a lot of them this was their first year playing. I believe we're going to be a lot better and stronger next year. I'm going to try my best to get all those younger kids who haven't played too much in the weight room and get stronger."
Another reason for optimism was the play of sophomore quarterback Jayden Hanks, who completed 79 of 131 passes for 739 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. He was honorable mention all-league.
"He's one of the bright spots for 2020," Patterson said. "He learned some things. He saw the pressure this season. We'll be a better team next season."
The Eagles will lose only three seniors, including Koby Brunney (QB/DB), who was honorable mention all-league. He rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns on 63 carries.
"I enjoyed playing with my brothers," Brunney said. "I enjoyed playing with the coaches that I had for the past few years. It was a great time. We may not have won, but we took time just to enjoy it and enjoy the moment."
Senior Joey Gallagher (FB/LB) was first-team all-league, senior Garrett Baker (WR/DB) and junior Josiah Bever (WR/LB/DB) were second-team all-league and junior Henry Arias (OL/DL) was honorable mention all-league.
Baker led the team in receiving with 21 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles finished fourth in the MSL-Cardinal behind champion Worthington Christian (4-0).
Grove City Christian defeated Fairfield Christian 26-7 on Oct. 4 for its lone league win.
"That's a highlight for every season that we will play," Patterson said. "I treat that like Ohio State-Michigan."
The Eagles also defeated Dayton Jefferson Township 21-12 on Sept. 13 and Cincinnati Hillcrest Academy 47-14 on Oct. 25.
"We overcame a lot of adversity and it was a very good season, especially for the young guys," Brunney said. "I think we'll have a very good team in the future, especially with the amount of young talent that we have."