The Dolores Bears football team has some holes to fill.
"We're going to have to replace five starters on offense and five on defense," said head coach Chris Trusler.
The biggest blows are losing last year's leading tackler, Kellen Gatke and leading rusher, Mikeal Ford to graduation.
Gatke was a 2014 first-team all-conference selection, Southern Peaks League player of the year, first-team all-state and led class two in tackles, and Ford rushed for 617 yards and four touchdowns last year.
But head coach Chris Trusler is hoping that returning players like Branden Donaldson, Jalen Balderrama and Austin Hackney can fill the void.
Donaldson returns for his senior season after leading the team in receiving yards, finishing second on the team in rushing with 464 yards and three touchdowns, and being named to the Southern Peaks League all-conference team. He'll also have a major impact defensively, after recording 62 tackles in 2014.
Joining him for a final go-round is Jalen Balderrama, who will be back under center for the Bears. Balderrama and Donaldson established a connection last season, and Balderrama will have other weapons to choose from in sophomore Austin Hackney and junior Tristen Medina.
Trusler also expects contributions from newcomers.
Incoming transfer student Andrew Davis will join junior Riley Syra on the offensive line, and freshman Forrest Pejsa will see action at full back.
While the team has depth and a solid mix of upper classmen and young players, Trusler believes their biggest strength is - their strength.
"We've had record numbers this year in the weight room," he said. "We've only got about three guys on the entire roster that bench press less than 200 pounds, and that includes freshman. So team strength is at an all time high and we couldn't be happier."
Trusler explained how players began lifting weights and preparing for the season as early as February, and continued to work throughout the summer. He believes that their commitment is largely responsible for the team's improvement, from their 1-7 record during his first season as head coach, to last year's 4-5 finish.
And the goal is to keep riding the momentum.
"We want to improve and be better than we were last year," Trusler explained. "Each year we've gotten better, and we want to finish higher in our league this year."