2013 was the best season the Alma Airedales has had in more than a decade. Ten wins, a conference title and a semifinals berth. All of this in Dough Loughridge's first year but the trick is being able to keep it going.
"It (last season) did not end the way they wanted it to so it was real easy to get them motivated--there was no getting them motivated," head coach Doug Loughridge said. "They still have a chip on their shoulder, they want to prove it wasn't a fluke."
The biggest strength to this team is the return of their quarterback, Evan Burris.
"We're coming in with experience knowing we don't have to start fresh with a new quarterback learning all of the new plays," senior left tackle Chandler Nicholson said.
"To come out the way he did last year and to manage ball games, to have that experience is big," Loughridge said. "It's a big, big sigh of relief we have this year."
The Airedales lost a large group of seniors and experience on defense but like any good program they plan to reload.
"We just take the guys we have with experience and plug in the new guys that have come," Loughridge said. "Our big saving grace is that we have had a successful junior high program the last three, four, five years. Those guys know how to win, know what it takes."
"We went to a senior came and we all kind of grew together and all of the seniors have to show leadership," Nicholson said. "Build up everyone, make sure everyone is accountable."
A surprise in the 5A last year, Alma won't have that advantage this year as they move up to the 6A but that doesn't weigh on their minds.
"The momentum started rolling, the wins started coming but the kids saw that and they saw what it took to get there," Loughridge said. "They know now so they are working even harder."
"I believe we will be able to do what we can in 6A and come out and compete," Nicholson said.