Western Albemarle High School football coach Ed Redmond knows he will have to get used to seeing a lot of new faces in the Warriors' huddles this season.
"That's the beauty of coaching, is coaches never graduate," Redmond said during a recent practice. "The kids come and go, but the coaches never graduate, and as long as you have the energy and the passion enthusiasm as a coach, you can do it forever."
Redmond has gone a combined 18-2 through his first two regular seasons at Western, with a playoff win in each season as well. But those two teams featured a high-powered offense led by quarterback Kent Henry, who finished his high school career as the area's all-time leader with 10,764 total yards (7,124 passing and 3,640 rushing) and 131 total touchdowns.
Henry's fleet of wide receivers included Steve Hearn (84 career catches for 1,408 yards and 17 touchdowns), Nic Drapanas (111 catches, 1,760 yards, 26 touchdowns), and Chase Stokes (34 catches, 562 yards, and nine touchdowns). They're all gone too.
"It's a little different, but we've just got to accept that fact and roll with it," senior Matt Wozneak said. "We'll just do our best, and try to fill the space."
"We know how good we have been before," said senior Josh Meeks. "But I don't really think about that too much, just because this is a new team. We've got new potential. We've got new players."
And entering his third season in Crozet, Redmond says the Warriors have a system in place to sustain the program's success, even if the faces are different.
"I think when you come in as a new coach, certainly credibility is part of it," Redmond said. "Kids want to be part of a successful program. And so it's important to develop a tradition of winning."
"It's just hard work and dedication," said Wozneak. "It's not really that complicated. We've just got guys who care a lot, come out a lot, and do what they need to."
The Warriors will have junior Oliver Herndon back on offense this fall, after he rushed for 564 yards and nine scores last year. Western will also enter the season with two options at quarterback in juniors Sam Hearn and Henry Kreienbaum.
And Redmond says even with the changes in personnel, the Warriors' gameplan won't stray too far from what's worked in the past.
"Scheme-wise we're going to be very similar. We're going to do what Western does," he explained. "We're just going to put different Jimmys and Joes, in terms of the X's and O's. That's really all we're going to do."