Just about anywhere you look, you're going to find a returning starter on the field for Millwood, which is trying to break the cycle of semifinal losses that has reached three straight years.
But with so many exciting, young players who gained valuable experience a year ago, the Falcons see a promising season ahead.
“We didn't want last year to end,” coach Tony Henry said. “We were excited during spring ball, and we were ready to get out here once August rolled around. The main makeup of our team is sophomores and juniors, so it's exciting.”
The offensive line lost a couple of key players, but experienced players fill every spot at receiver and running back.
A talented passer, senior London Potts played in some situations last season, primarily to throw the ball, but he'll be on the field more regularly this year.
“He's a passer, and we'll use some different things to get creative with how we handle that position,” Henry said.
Cameron Batson, who had been a quarterback until moving to receiver last year, will spend some time behind center to give the Falcons a dynamic running threat, alongside a talented group of running backs.
Sophomore Sheldon Bulock and junior Larry Lambeth bring a speed-power combination that few teams can match at running back, and the Falcons will utilize both of them in the backfield at the same time on occasions, just as they did last year.
Dashawn Stephens and Alfonzo McMillan are in the mix at receiver, and also double in the secondary, which is full of returning starters.
Lambeth will move to outside linebacker, rather than his natural position on the inside, but the 6-foot, 235-pound junior feels comfortable in the new role.
“We're making sure we've got everybody that's good in a spot they can play,” Lambeth said. “It's new to me, but I've been working with Cameron Batson on pass coverage, doing whatever it takes to get it done.”
The junior class is full of players who were dominant at the middle-school level, and they're motivated to get back to that type of winning program.
“We all played together coming up and that's what makes us have such good team chemistry,” Lambeth said.
“We want it to be just like middle school again, when we couldn't be beat.”