Even Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe coach Todd Windham admits the story is simple.
His Warriors have seniors, about 20 of them. That should make for a good team under most circumstances.
But some are as fresh to the game as the morning dew on a local golf course - untested.
Some are grizzled veterans of the northwest Georgia lights on Friday night.
"It's a wait-and-see kind of thing to see how they'll respond," Windham said. "With 20 seniors that sounds pretty strong, but it's still an unknown and we're trying to get that molded in camp and get the pieces put together.
"How far can they take us?"
Only the season will provide the full answer.
But the first game may provide a few clues. That will be at Gordon Lee on Aug. 29, one week after the Trojans face their main league rivals, the Trion Bulldogs.
"That first game, you put so much into it," Windham said. "It's the culmination of a long process. There's so much investment in that first game - not six weeks of preseason but more than six months of offseason - that everybody has extra butterflies."
Senior receiver Sam Eaves plans to be ready for that opener. In the meantime he's helping toughen up the the more inexperienced players on his team.
"You have to get their feet wet early," Eaves said. "We have confidence in our starters, and we have confidence in our bench as well.
"We're looking to bounce back from an average season to make it back into the playoffs."
- David Uchiyama
LAKEVIEW-FORT OGLETHORPE WARRIORS
Head coach: Todd Windham (27-44 here; 65-90 overall)
Last year: 3-7
Returning starters (O/D/K/): 6/7/0
Control panel: DE/OL Frankie Pinkston (6-3, 230, Sr.) brings a physical presence on defense and provides speed off the edge. WR/FS Sam Eaves (5-9, 165, Sr.) brings consistency to both sides as a good tackler who gets the secondary lined up and as a dependable receiver on offense. WR/DB Hadyn Griffin (5-9, 165, Jr.) was the defensive MVP from last season and could build on that to a possible scholarship at a small college.
New producers: QB Ryan Keefe (6-1, 175, Sr.) doesn't have much game experience, but he's the guy behind center. "For us to be successful he'll have to step up and be productive," Windham said. "He was able to distribute in 7-on-7s." LB/RB Jesse Flanagan (5-11, 215, Sr.) broke an ankle early last year and never was 100 percent after his return. LB/TE Zac Cagle (6-1, 200, Sr.) played only basketball until this year, and Windham sees those skills translating to the football field.
Fact: In 2007, Windham's first season as LFO head coach, the Warriors began using a midfield logo that stretches 20 yards. The first time the logo was painted on the field, a decision had to be made: which way to point the spear. Tommy Morrell, now the defensive coordinator, suggested the logo point toward the general direction of Lakeview Middle School and the old high school. Each season, the seniors gather the night before the first home game and assist the LFO coaching staff in painting the logo. While they paint, the seniors and coaches talk about the traditions of the program and the expectations of the season to come.
(all games at 7:30 Eastern)
Aug. 29 - at Gordon Lee
Sept. 5 - Heritage
Sept. 12 - at Coahulla Creek*
Sept. 19 - Murray County*
Sept. 26 - at Gordon Central*
Oct. 3 - North Murray*
Oct. 10 - at Ringgold*
Oct. 17 - Adairsville*
Oct. 24 - at Sonoraville*
Oct. 31 - Calhoun*