VAN ALSTYNE, TX -- It wasn't a season to remember by any means for the Van Alstyne Panthers. One win in ten tries is nearly always forgettable, but the returners from last year's disappointing campaign are using it as fuel for the fall.
"Obviously we're tired of losing, we're tired of putting out all the effort and not seeing it go through," senior offensive lineman Jeffrey Dietz said. "I think now that we've kind of built on that, that we can only go up from there and we have the effort part down, it's time to see some victories from it."
District championship and playoffs are always the goals no matter what in Panther country, now they're going back to basics to get it done.
"We're going back to simplifying how we started out the last couple of years," head coach Mikeal Miller said. "I think that was part of the problem we had last year, is we tried to pick up where we left off the year before with a bunch of young kids and we kind of fiddle around with a lot of different things, but we're going back to our bread and butter and what we believe in as a coaching staff."
The bread and butter is getting behind their big front five, one of the best in the class, highlighted by Minnesota signee Connor Mayes.
He joins four other battled tested lineman who are eager to put the team almost literally on their backs.
"Offensive line -- it'll be one of the biggest parts. They say it's the heart beat of the team, we're going to move each other along and being most of the seniors are on the offensive line, I think it will be a good -- we'll be able to set the pace and just show every body else what to do," senior right tackle Aaron Russell said.
One win or 11-plus, the Panthers believe camaraderie makes all the difference.
"Just knowing all the teammates came together and did it, because you don't perform well unless you're bonding together as brothers, so we definitely got to come together," Mayes said.
"We've had a great off-season, we really have. They've really bought into what we're trying to accomplish and the philosophies we're trying to get into them. So hopefully we'll have a better year than we did last year," Miller concluded.