Even after ripping off 1775 rushing yards and nine touchdowns last year, Harrison Central running back Keon Moore is setting his sights even higher for 2017.
"I'm trying to work on 2,000 yards," Moore said. "He's gonna lead the way, and I believe we're gonna do it."
The 'he' Moore is referring to is junior offensive lineman Bryce Ramsey, the 6'2", 346 pound starter who already holds collegiate offers from the likes of Florida State, Memphis and Southern Miss. Head coach Casey Cain made it clear: as Ramsey goes, the Red Rebels' offense goes.
"We're gonna be a run-first team," Cain said. "We're gonna want to throw the ball in play-action, but everything's gonna be built off the run. That's our foundation is to run the football."
That makes the job a little easier for Chase Jones, the Harrison Central senior who Coach Cain trusted enough to transition from tight end to starting quarterback.
"I appreciate it greatly, I tell him thank you pretty much every day," Jones said with a laugh. "I believe he trusts me to do the role and do my best at it."
On the defensive side of the ball, the Red Rebels had to start several sophomores last year, and they'll do the same in 2017.
"We'll be a small defense," Cain said. "We're undersized, we don't have a lot of big kids, but we're gonna rely on a lot of quickness and a lot of heart, and just rallying to the football, gang-tackling."
"I think we're gonna be pretty strong," senior defensive lineman Charvis Gandy said. "(It) starts with the defensive front. We've got more seniors now, so we should be good."
There's a lot of work to be done, but also a lot of cautious optimism that the Red Rebels can improve on last year's 5-6 finish and get back to the playoffs.
"Oh, it's a big goal," Moore said. "(I'm not) trying to say we're going to State, but we're gonna make a push for the playoffs this year."
"If we put in the work out here and in the weight room, in the classes, we should make it to the playoffs," Ramsey said. "We've got a good team. We got excellent athletes. All we have to do is just keep in our head that we're trying to make it to the playoffs and go further and further."