BELLS, Texas (KTEN) - Bells will have plenty of new faces on its roster this year.

The Panthers lost 17 lettermen to graduation from last year's squad.

"Whenever one of us has a question, one of us is confused, we don't know what to do, we just look to the upperclassmen," said senior linebacker Case Robertson, who is set to make his Bells varsity football debut this year. "They take it upon themselves to lead and give us insight."

Six starters return on offense but just three are back on defense.

"We lost a great senior class but we don't expect anything to drop," Bells head coach Dale West said. "We're going to reinsert new kids and the program kind of runs itself and the kids run it."

The Panthers love to run the football in their slot-T offense. But with their four leading rushers from last year gone, the focus this season will be on the trenches.

"We return five of our offensive linemen, so we're going to have to rely on them early," West said.

And the linemen and swingmen are ready to lead.

"We got really good experience," senior swingman Hayden Hargis said. "We're just going to keep running the ball up the middle because we got some really good guards and tackles."

Behind them, the Panthers will have a younger crew of backs this season.

"We're going to lead all juniors out there in the backfield," West said. "But like I said, our offensive line, we return a lot of them, so we're going to rely on them early and let the ballcarriers figure it out. We have capable kids. We just need them to have some reps and some wisdom."

But as new players step into their new roles, they have full faith in the Bells system.

"You know no matter what you do, if you go out there and do your job, your coaches are going to lead you to success," Robertson said. So as long as you're willing to work and go out there and put it in, they'll take care of you."

And because of that, expectations will remain high in 2023.

"Nobody wants to be that class that turns the program the wrong way," West said. "We had a class that came in and turned it around and we want to continue in that direction."

Bells will look to get its season off going in the right direction on August 24 when it takes on Muenster on the road.