DENISON, Texas (KTEN) - A lot of 5A schools might be okay with a 5-5 finish, that is not how the Yellow Jackets roll.

"Something I learned last year, we were playing down to the other teams level to much, not hustling around playing our game," said Denison senior safety Kenyan Kelly.

Denison missed out on the playoffs a year ago and did not finish with a winning record for the first time since 2016. However that disappointment a season ago, is fueling them in 2023.

"I think all of us have taken huge steps forward this summer," said senior running back Jack Aleman. "Obviously we're ready to go."

No need to worry about an identity crisis early either, Denison knows offensively to rely on a veteran offensive line group and senior downhill running backs in Jack Aleman and Grant Yerkes.

"Obviously me and Grant will have to take a step forward in leadership roles and I think we're going to do a great job and I have a lot of confidence in me and Grant and our offensive line."

"Two great running backs that are big and fast," said Denison head coach Brent Whitson. "Which will allow us to grow Ty Rhodes up and he's uber talented but he needs some time to mature and he needs game decisions made."

If you know Denison well, you know the last name Rhodes. Ty will be the teams starting quarterback this year getting to play under his father Vincent and uncle Dale who both went to Denison as well.

"I don't know that all that is necessarily really good for a kid but he's shouldered it very well," said Whitson. "Now it's just a matter of meshing the physical with it and getting lots of reps."

Denison opens the season at Sherman on August 25.