Over the course of last season, the Mancos High School football team struggled, finishing with a 2-7 record overall. The Bluejays expect things to be far different this season, however.
Chief among the differences will be the addition of associate head coaches Bill Parsons and Josh Gardner, who will replace Adam Priestley on the sideline this season. Both experienced football players, Parsons and Gardner said that they emphasize the importance of playing fundementally sound football.
"We're putting a big emphasis on keeping it simple and trying to master a smaller playbook," said Gardner, who played football at the University of Cincinnati. "We're not trying to out trick anybody or anything like that. We're really trying to become good at what we do."
In doing so, the Bluejays will lean heavily on junior running back Everett Strazza-Whalen and junior fullback Andrew Morgan. Strazza Whalen led the Bluejays in rushing last season with 356 yards, while Morgan played quarterback.
Also figuring to factor into the offense will be Adrian Hernandez, who will see time at running back and receiver. Senior tight-end Brandon Hood-Farley and junior receiver Andrew Plunkett, both talented basketball players, also figure to add to the Bluejays passing attack.
Battling for the starting quarterback position will be senior Nigel Henry and sophomore Axel Bonde. While neither Bonde nor Henry played football last season, both players are talented athletes who will look to stretch the field with their arms and legs.
"Henry will add a new dimension to our team," said Gardner. "We're excited to get him."
As always, the Bluejays will face a tough schedule with matchups against Norwood, Dove Creek highlighting the season slate. Despite the difficult schedule however, Gardner expects the Bluejays to perform well and possibly even win the league.
"We'd like to win the league," said Gardner. "That's our main goal.
The Bluejays will open their season at home against Norwood High School at 7 p.m. Aug. 22.