York High opened football practice on Wednesday, a couple of days later than many Bay Rivers District football teams because the Falcons participated last week in the Old Dominion University team camp. Despite the loss of 13 key seniors from last year's Bay Rivers District champs, optimism is high.

A solid showing by some talented returners in the ODU camp is one reason for confidence. Senior lineman Cody Hendrickson, a James Madison University commit, led a defensive line coach Doug Pereira said was dominant each day at the camp.

Skill standout Tywaun Lewis was big for an offense that is still working out some kinks because of the many graduation losses. Austin Norman appears to be a capable replacement for school-record-setting quarterback Alex Johnston - now at Christopher Newport University.

"Austin is showing improvement each day," Pereira said. "Tywaun is just a play-maker who does great things with the ball.

"Defensively, we're just solid across the board."

Pereira said 73 players showed up for the first practice on Wednesday and that they're hungry.

"The first practice went real well," he said. "I'm very happy with the intensity.

"Certainly the kids understand we're in pursuit of another district title. We're going to face this goal as a team."