“We're a little younger, so we have to gain maturity as a team,” he said. “But overall, I think we're a better ballclub.”
Added Mitchell: “We're faster than we've ever been. We don't have a lot of tall guys, but we've got speed.”
Playing in the All-City Conference, Centennial will take some losses, but Raper keeps his players focused on the future — this season and beyond.
Building on their recent success has become important to the current players. They recognize the responsibility that comes with being a state champion, and the importance of continuing the program they've helped build.
“They work out with the middle-school kids, and they explain to those kids, ‘This is what we expect of you. This is what we've done,'” Raper said. “We don't have the tradition that other schools have. Our tradition is what these guys have built.
“They're teaching those younger players that this is how we do things, and that really helps us grow.”