For the seniors at Woodberry Forest, last year was the first time in their careers that they did not win the Prep League title. As the season gets closer, an experienced Tigers team has its eyes on reclaiming that title this season.
"It's vital. I can't stress that enough," says senior lineman and fullback Spencer Bibb. "A Prep League title is what we're going for."
The Tigers team that is chasing that title returns a lot of experience from last year.
"We got 12 kids back on offense that played in every game, six starters back on defense, and a lot of kids that also played in all the games," said head coach Clint Alexander.
For senior quarterback Hunter Etheridge, his second year back at Woodberry has been a different experience than last season.
"It's good to have that experience, especially at the skill position levels," said Etheridge. "I've been working with wide receivers and throwing with them a lot in the spring, so it was good to have those same guys back and be working with them."
Etheridge threw for more than 1,000 yards as a junior last year.
"He knows our system well," said Bibb. "I think he can utilize his talents to what we want him to do. His deep ball is great, and he's smart. He's a smart guy."
"He established himself as a great leader last year, by having that type of leadership back and also experience," added Alexander. "He's seen everything that we do, he's been lining up everybody on offense, so that's been great."
For Woodberry, one of the challenges they face each year is getting ready for the season in a little more than two weeks. With the players scattered over the country and even the world during the summer, Alexander says his players offseason fitness will be one key to their in-season success.
"That the boys came in in shape is the biggest challenge, and they did," Alexander said.
Bibb says that offseason work will fuel the Tigers this season in more ways than one. "We've done an incredible amount of work, and that pressure to not waste that work is probably, it's probably the biggest driving force behind all that."