ELKINS (KFSM)-- On the coldest day of football season so far, Chad Harbison laughs.
"It'll be 85 on Friday anyways, so this just toughens 'em up."
In his first year as head coach at Elkins, Harbison led the Elks to one of the best seasons in program history. His second year at the helm got off to a rockier start.
"We have so many new starters this year, that week one we kind of got throttled a little bit."
The Elks lost to Shiloh Christian by 32 in their season opener, but instead of letting it sink them, they've used that feeling as fuel, say seniors Ethan Cox and Jace Shirley.
"Losing sucks it really does, but we made a lot of mistakes that were easy fixes."
"It's just whenever you're down, your backs are up against the wall, how you come back and fight for it."
Elkins only returned three starters on each side of the ball, so to an outsider, this had the feeling of a rebuilding year. In a way it is, but apparently that's a phrase with a slightly different meaning down Highway 16.
"It feels like they were all here last year and everyone knows everything," says senior Layne Evans. "People are in different positions, so yeah, we lost a lot of seniors, but we can still rebuild and be as good or better than we were last year."
"We were so unproven," adds Harbison, "with so many new starters, on defense especially, that they had to learn they could do it, had to see themselves getting better."
Since that loss week one, the Elks are undefeated.
"I've seen everyone start to take their responsibilities and actually do them" says Cox.
This is a team that has been able to grow and improve while still winning, and they hope even a visit from conference leader Clinton this weekend won't slow them down.
"It's a big game," says Evans. "I think we just pretty much come out with the same mindset every day, being our best and improving every week."
Last year, Elkins went in to Clinton and spoiled the Yellowjacket's homecoming. This year's rematch kicks off in Elkins 7pm on Friday.