Expectations are always high for the Fork Union football team, and a 1-8 finish in 2013 didn't meet those expectations.
"I think last year was definitely a learning process," said senior quarterback Sam Allen. "It wasn't what we wanted it to be or expected it to be. We had talent, but I think that was a big learning experience for us that we've learned from and are going to capitalize on this year."
Allen is back for his senior year as the Blue Devils starting quarterback. One of his goals, along with the other upperclassmen, is to make sure the team comes together before the season kicks off.
"Every drill, every thing that we do is together, full speed everything," he says. "I've got to push these guys in the weight room, everything's together."
"We actually have a leadership director here at school who comes out and says something to the guys, has a little lesson," head coach Brian Hurlocker said. "Every practice, we come out here and do a prayer, something related to our five core values."
Hurlocker is entering his second season as the head coach at FUMA. His first season was a transitional one for the Blue Devils, with Micky Sullivan stepping down after almost thirty years at the helm of the program. Now in his second year, Hurlocker's team has been making changes in the offseason and in camp in order to get back to winning.
"We try to make a couple new chants," said senior running back Rashon Torrence, who was an All-Prep League selection in 2013. "We have wiffle ball tournaments, we have things like dodgeball tournaments just to work together and compete, get used to competing as a team together."
The team may have some new chants and new approaches to building unity, but they have the same expectations as always.
"Our expectations here don't change," Hurlocker said. "We were 1-8, but the expectation at Fork Union Military Academy is that you get to the playoffs, and you try and get deep into November."
"I have big expectations," Torrence added. "I say, '1-8 to state.' That's all I can say."