Mike Golden made an immediate impact in his first season coaching the Bexley football program.
After winning one game over the previous two seasons, the Lions finished 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division under Golden, who previously coached at Watterson, New Albany, Upper Arlington and Delaware.
"I think we made improvements, but we have to strive to do better next year," Golden said. "We had a lot of things to work on.
"I'm proud that they stuck with it. We didn't have anyone drop off (and quit the team) and we were able to play a j.v. schedule. We didn't lose to a team with a losing record. We had three opportunities to play teams that were struggling, and we beat them."
The Lions will lose their top two rushers in seniors Patrick Beck and Troy Redmond, both of whom were first-team all-league. Redmond ran for 633 yards and three touchdowns on 132 carries, returned a kickoff for a score and had 26 tackles and two interceptions as a defensive back.
Beck rushed for 508 yards and seven scores on 123 carries and had seven catches for 53 yards. As a linebacker, he had 48 tackles and three fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown.
Carter Brenner (WR/DB), Ethan Fosnaugh (TE/LB; second-team all-league; 68 tackles), Jevin Gutter (WR/DB), Justin Mauk (OL/DL; honorable mention all-league) and Luke Robinson (OL/DL; first-team all-league; 59 tackles) rounded out the senior class.
"The seniors went from being (part of) the best football team the school has had as freshmen to going 0-10 as sophomores and 1-9 as juniors," junior linebacker Grant Sheridan said. "But they kept punching the clock, and they did what they needed to do to put the program in the right direction. They just kept on going to help make us better."
Sheridan was honorable mention all-league with a team-leading 78 tackles, and he also had a fumble recovery. As a running back, he had 107 yards on 21 carries.
The Lions have a pair of quarterbacks with game experience expected to return. Junior Tommy Bloebaum, who started the first four games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, was 14-for-38 passing for 101 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Freshman Jon Spiess started the final six games, going 15-for-44 for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception and two rushing touchdowns.
The top receiver expected back is junior Michael Agreisti (second-team all-league), who had nine receptions for 107 yards and one score. As a defensive back, he had 28 tackles and a team-high four interceptions.
Sophomore Noah Lyons (RB/LB) rushed for 108 yards on 27 carries and had 38 tackles and an interception.
Other contributors expected to return are junior offensive lineman Philip Martin (honorable mention all-league), sophomore linebacker Calvin Burzynski (41 tackles) and sophomore kicker Sam Powers (2-for-2 field goals, 14-for-16 extra points).
"We should have a whole host of kids coming back," Golden said.
"The key for us will be our commitment in the offseason. They should be lifting with their teams if they are playing other sports, but if they aren't they should be lifting with the rest of the football team. Increasing our strength is something we need to make strides in during the offseason."