A 4-6 record will not cut it for South Carroll football coach Steve Luette.
Last season's losing mark was Luette's first in seven years, and he stresses that another sub-.500 campaign will not be acceptable — in fact, he'd be surprised if the Cavaliers have one.
"We have a motivated team, and the attitude of the team will be just make us better," said Luette, who has a career record of 58-22. "And we have better athletes at all the positions. The makeup of the entire team is what's going to make us better."
The task of running the spread offense falls to senior Cole Evans (6-foot-1, 210 pounds). Last year's backup has the quickness, arm and instincts to be a solid quarterback.
"He showed us last year that he has the ability to step in and do what needs to be done to win games," Luette said of Evans, who replaces the graduated A.J. Linn. "He has a lot of poise and can really throw the ball. I think we are going to throw the ball more than last year because of his arm and I guess, for the first time, we have a left-hander at quarterback."
South Carroll lost a game breaker at running back in Jamar Williams, the reigning Times Football Player of the Year. He led the county in rushing (1,642 yards) and touchdowns (26).
Nevertheless, Luette has a lot of confidence in seniors Jacob Snell (5-7, 160) and Ryan Oden (5-4, 150).
"I am sure that we have a guy who has Jamar's athletic ability," Luette said. "But we have two guys in Oden and Snell who can come in and be good runners. I call them more of scat-back type of runners. They can break big runs."
Snell and Oden will be running behind a strong and physical offensive line anchored by two returning starters, junior tackle Patrick Quinn and sophomore tackle Mike Crown — Quinn earned Times second-team all-county honors in 2016.
The line also features junior guards Christopher Aiosa (5-11, 230) and Jakob Janusz (5-10, 255) and sophomore center Christian Skinner (5-9, 240).
Tackles Crown and junior Patrick Quinn (6-4, 280) along with three ends, juniors Max Moore and Colin Reno and senior Nathan Gallagher, man the line. Brett Finzel, Gamble, Ryan Oden, Sergio Ramirez, Mason Gavin, and Richard Summerlin are the linebackers.
Finzel ranked among the team leaders last year with 46 tackles.
"Our linebackers are pretty experienced and we should be solid there," said SC defensive coordinator Mike Kraus, who has to make up for the loss of linebacker and first-team all-county pick Henry Cook.
Dylan Wilson (43 tackles) is a talented and proven player at safety and the second-team all-county pick is the player to watch in the secondary.
"Wilson quarterbacks our defense and all of our coverage schemes," Kraus said.