The Madison County football team made the playoffs last year, despite winning just three games, and they're looking to improve the record this season.
Senior fullback/defensive lineman Kenyon Smith says, "That's a goal for everybody one the team. We have to bust our tails to win our district, and we have to bust our tails to win states."
The Mountaineers return three-year starter James Graves at quarterback.
Head coach Stuart Dean says, "It makes it a little bit easier. James knows what's going on, what to expect, and yet he still has his goals, that he wants to improve upon in his senior year."
"It's a big responsibility," says Graves. "Gotta step up and be a leader."
Smith says, "He's working hard, doing his best to motivate us to try our hardest and do what we need to do. So he's definitely stepping up, and being a leader."
Madison will also bring back most of its offensive line.
Senior right guard John Price says, "We have, not the biggest offensive line, but the O-linemen that we have, they have big hearts, and they'll block until they can't block no more."
Dean says, "We feel strong up there with our pass game again. We just got to get some receivers ready to catch the ball when James throws."
Madison lost thousand-yard receiver Ashton Weakley to graduation, and after throwing the ball 40 to 50 times a game last year, the Mountaineers will try to establish a ground attack this season.
Price says, "The strength this year is going to be a little more running. We have some running backs, who have not the biggest size in the world, but they have some speed, and they will take a hit."
Dean adds, "We want a balanced attack, so we're really going to work hard to develop a run game, and a consistent run game to make people have to defend all parts of the field."
"It should help us a lot," says Graves, "because it'll make the field a little bit bigger, and they can't key on our pass every time."
Mike Shiers joined the NBC29 News Team as a weekend sports anchor in September of 2009. You can reach Mike via email or Twitter.
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