The Monticello Mustangs have made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, and both times they've lost in the region semifinals.
"That's happened twice to me, my sophomore and junior years. You want to get further. We've just got to stretch for it," said senior lineman Sam Marshall.
The senior leaders of the team say they came into camp motivated, because they know it's their last chance to make a run at the state tournament. Quarterback Jahlil Mosley says, "I've definitely been playing with a chip on my shoulder in the offseason into two-a-days. I'm eager to get back out there and get back to that place and win and keep on playing."
"We just compete with each other, just push each other forward so we can go further in the playoffs. I mean, that's our dream to take games on by one, go to the Jefferson District playoffs, and then state tourney," added Marshall.
The Mustangs will be led on offense by Mosley, who's bound for JMU next fall. Protecting him will be an offensive line that boasts both size and experience. "It helps a lot when you get your whole offensive line back," said Mosley. "You build chemistry last year and build on it this year. The offensive line is going to take us a long way."
It's not just the offensive line that's experienced. Second year head coach Rodney Redd says the majority of last years starters are back, and those returners will help determine if this team can be the one that finally breaks through. Redd says, "I think this is definitely a group that to some extent has already established their legacy, but they definitely want to leave on a high note with not only some of the other good teams, but I think they want to go down as one of the great teams. That definitely is a driving factor."
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