Only recently did Collin Jackson, who is in his second year as coach at Whitehorse, get a firm idea of who he would have filling out his roster for the upcoming football season.
That was pretty much on the first day of school Aug. 14.
"Here, it's hard to predict who's coming back because we're in such a remote area," Jackson said. "They want to play, they just don't live around here."
Now that the school buses are back on their regular routine, Jackson and his Raiders will try to churn out some wins.
Whitehorse does have returners with experience after a winless 2012 season.
Junior wide receiver Herbert "J.R." Todachinnie will be a primary target for quarterback Cebal Armstrong. Both players will anchor the Raiders' defensive secondary.
Leading Whitehorse's rushing attack, meanwhile, will be junior Daivik Mitchell and sophomore Dylan Lansing.
Like Lansing, Garrett Nez and Hank Lee also played regularly as freshmen. Nez will be another target for Armstrong as a tight end, while Lee will anchor both the offensive and defensive lines.
Many of the offensive go-to players also will be key on defense and will help out senior Konami Mike at his outside linebacker position.
The main problem for Whitehorse is giving Armstrong a chance to find receivers.
"He's a pretty good quarterback," Jackson said. "But we had a very, very small line, and it was hard for him to stay on his feet. Without a line, you can't do much of anything."
ASSIGNMENT • Class 1A South
LAST YEAR • 0-7 overall, 0-4 Class 1A South
KEY RETURNER • Cebal Armstrong, sr., QB/FS
PLAYER TO WATCH • J.R. Todachinnie, jr., WR/DB
BIGGEST HOLE • Offensive line, where coach Jackson optimistically says, "We've got a couple of newer guys, a couple of bigger guys."
NEED TO KNOW • The Raiders didn't get much experience at camps over the summer and may take longer to gel than other teams.