Putnam City lost some size on the defensive line, but coach John Wofford hopes a strong group of linebackers can make up the difference.
Jamarcus Smith and Eric Weed both return as starters, and a couple of other players have experience.
“We have to control things with the linebackers,” Weed said. “As long as we work together as a unit, we can be good.”
Smith and Weed are the top two returning tacklers for the Pirates, who were 6-4 last year and narrowly missed the playoffs — a strong motivating factor through the offseason.
“My teammates always say they want to go win state. Well, we gotta be here every day, working hard,” Smith said. “You can’t do a thing without hard work. Ain’t nothing handed to you.”