PAXTON, Neb. (KNOP)--- Many people are expecting Paxton 8-man football to have a strong team this year. With a different look than they saw last year, players think they may have a good chance in the playoffs.
The Tigers are going through many changes this year from a new head coach, new offensive and defensive schemes, as well as new starting positions being filled.
But one thing that's staying the same is a lot of returning starters and experienced players. With nine guys coming back with game day knowledge, their 8-man line-ups should be pretty threatening this season.
However the team says they do need to further develop the young players into a solid secondary.
Senior quarterback and safety, Ryan Fox said, "Definitely need to make sure that the younger kids are going to be able to play too because everybody gets hurt sometimes so you got to make sure you've got the depth."
Head coach Scott Jorgensen said,
"In D2 football it's not so much what your top tier kids can do, it's more what those bottom tier kids can do because you're not always going to have, you know injuries always happen, illnesses happen, things like that and so you always have to have a replacement because you've got to put 8 guys out on the field."
While coach says this should be a good year for his team on paper, you never know the strengths of other teams or obstacles thrown at you throughout the season.
Many people are thinking this could be Paxton's year to make a strong push into the postseason, and with a good amount of experience coming back to the 8-man squad, it's not out of the question.
The Tigers went 5-4 last season but a lot of those players from last year are returning with experience and knowledge. And while they need to work on developing their depth before the season gets into full force, the team says communication and speed are a few of their strengths this season that they can utilize to make it past the first round of playoffs for the first time in two years.
Jorgensen said, "You don't know what the other teams have right now, you dont know what the other teams are looking at. Yeah you know on paper we should be fairly decent but we still haven't played a game so we don't know."
Senior offensive and defensive lineman Roper Chandler said, "Our speed is really good, quiet a few of us are pretty strong, I mean we really should be able to man handle the guy in front of us, I'm not too worried about that."
The players say they are most excited for their match-ups against Crawford, Garden County, and Mullen.
08/25/17 @ Maxwell D2
09/01/17 Wallace D2
09/07/17 Sutherland D1
09/22/17 @ Crawford D2
09/29/17 @ Leyton D2
10/06/17 Garden County D2
10/13/17 Mullen D2
10/19/17 @ Brady D2