Matt Miller has seen the work it takes to turn a long-struggling football program into a playoff team.
Miller, U.S. Grant's new head coach, played at Little Axe and spent the last four years as an assistant there, helping build the Indians from a cellar-dweller to a team that earned its first home playoff game last fall.
Now, the 27-year-old Miller has the same kind of plans for the Generals.
"I think we're on our way," he said. "We've got good numbers — not for 6A, but for this school. We've got 40-50 out for practice every day. The energy is there and they're buying into what we're trying to teach them."
And Miller is earning his players' respect by walking the thin line of being able to bond with his players and still push them to do what is expected of a winning program.
"He jokes around with us, knows what we're talking about," said left tackle Alex Levescy. "This is my third coach in three years and that can be tough.
"But coach Miller came straight to me and welcomed me and told me he needed me to be a leader. It got me going real quick."
Miller installed a coaching staff with a good mix of youth, experience and energy, led by offensive coordinator Charles Welde and defensive coordinator Dan Burgess.
"As long as everybody comes to practice and works hard, we're moving in the right direction," senior center and emotional leader Kyle McClanahan said. "And what I've seen since coach Miller came here, everybody wants to work hard and do what the coaches say."