The North Sevier football team was riding high after capturing the Class 1A state championship five years ago.
That must seem like an eternity.
The Wolves have won a total of four games (4-34), including one over the last three seasons, since that game. Reestablishing a winning mentality is one of the main challenges that new coach Chuck Woodhouse faces.
"Part of it was moving to 2A and a lack of belief," Woodhouse said. "They don't believe they can win. You can't afford to talk about the past. Now we talk about change. We're working hard to change that mentality."
To further that charge, Woodhouse has gone into the community to seek team sponsors. He even has gone door to door to recruit potential football players in North Sevier's boundaries in the hopes of boosting the program's quality and quantity.
"It's a whole new idea, a whole new feel," Woodhouse said. "I've been all over town. These kids have already shown they can overcome adversity."
The Wolves do have some talented players, especially on offense. Sophomores Fisher Andersen and Preston Snyder are battling to start at quarterback, with seniors Brendon Sorenson and Desmond Honeycutt in the backfield. Andersen threw for 1,603 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, but he also had 24 interceptions and a 47 percent completion rate.
Sorensen ran for a team-high 258 yards last season. Though predominantly a passing team last season, Woodhouse envisions a more balanced split. North Sevier will run a spread offense with a pistol back. Receivers Collin Rasmussen and Izzy Sivels will look to create mismatches in the secondary.
"We'll speed things up and call plays from the sidelines," Woodhouse said. "We don't huddle. The structure of everything is different. We don't want to have any down time. We'll go from one thing to the next."
The Wolves will operate out of a base 3-5 attacking defense. Woodhouse said his team plans to roll coverage to mix up things and attack from different positions. Honeycutt, Marshall Roundy and Colby Mayo lead a strong linebacking corps, while nose guard Jake Thompson will attempt to plug up the middle.
"We're young but very talented," Woodhouse said. "There is a lot of good competition going on at every position. The kids want to prove themselves."
North Sevier will attempt to break a 16-game losing streak when it opens at American Leadership Academy on Aug. 23.
North Sevier Wolves
ASSIGNMENT • Class 2A South
LAST YEAR • 0-9 overall, 0-7 Class 2A North
KEY RETURNER • Desmond Honeycutt, RB/LB. Four-year starter was voted a captain by his teammates and has become the team's vocal and emotional leader.
PLAYERS TO WATCH • Collin Rasmussen, WR, and Izzy Sivels, WR. Both will present matchup problems for defenses. Rasmussen is tall and strong and runs like a deer, while Sivels has breakaway speed and is a good route runner.
BIGGEST HOLE • Overcoming a losing mentality. With only four wins over the last four years, the team must believe it can win football games.
NEED TO KNOW • Coach Woodhouse believes his team will turn some heads this season. The team won't quit and will fight hard until the end.