OZARK (KFSM)-There's no where to go but up from last season for the Ozark football team. They saw their season fall apart after a record year in 2012.
"Last year was a really rough year for us," said senior left tackle Ryan Hopper. "The year before we went to the state championship, lost, but that's 12 wins the year before and two wins last year."
The 2013 season is one to forget. A small offensive and defensive line, injuries and a lack of experience led to the ten game drop off. This year is the exact opposite. The seniors were sophomores on that state-runner up team. Now they use their experience of success to lead the others.
"I learned quite a bit from them, interacting with them at school and football and lifting with them" said right guard Patrick McCartney. "I gained a lot of strength mentally and physically from practicing with them."
Although there's not a lot of depth to the linemen, their size makes up for it along with their strength in the backfield.
"Last year we had a pretty small line, at one point we had four sophomores starting," said McCartney. "We averaged maybe 190 last year on the line but this year we are averaging a little over 250."
"We've got a few more skill guys this year coming back, especially coming off the junior high team from last year," said head coach Jeremie Burns. "Skill guys, we are a little better off depth wise."
With an improved team and a shakeup in the conference, players are confident they'll have success.
"We're excited to be in the new conference that we are in, we will see some new competition that we haven't played in the past years," said Jenkins. "I feel like we match up well with most of them and we can really compete."
Of course the HIllbillies look forward to one game more than most-week one against Booneville.
"This is Booneville. We don't like each other, that's a big deal," said Hopper. "It's a huge game for us, it's a big confidence boost."