(UNION STAR, Mo.) David Bridger has put his time in on the sideline, and now he's stepping into his first head coaching job with Union Star.
"I would assume it's any coach's dream, so to speak, to be the head guy, and I'm no different," he said.
Bridger served as defensive coordinator under Danny Brown at West Platte for 12 years, and now he enters his first bout with 8-Man football.
"For lack of a better term, it feels more like when you're a boy growing up playing backyard football. It's more wide open. A lot of kids aren't very big. It's more speed oriented instead of about size."
He inherits a program that hasn't had a .500 season or better since 2003, and this year's pack of Trojans deal with the loss of all-state selections Nick Palmer at quarterback and Jake Mitchell at receiver. Union Star through for more than two thousand yards in 2012, but could scale it back with Sean Kelly taking the snaps.
"I want to throw it, but I'm scared to death still when those edge guys are closer to my quarterback, how that all is going to play into things. We'll decide what kind of team we're going to become as we start going down the road."
"I like throwing the ball, but, at the same time, I like running the ball too. I love contact," Kelly said. "I'm looking forward to running a lot of quarterback sneaks, a lot of option plays."
Bridger may be hesitant to put his signal caller in the line of fire too often given the team's limited numbers. The Trojans have just 12 players suiting up for camp."
"I know that's what they've fought up here through the years," he said. "I'm up here trying to change the mindset of the boys about coming out; trying to instill school pride."
The best way to bring that back to the blue and gold is through winning, and the Trojans are looking to take the next step after last year's four-win season.
"I want to go farther than districts this year, improve our record," Kelly said. "I want to try to beat 4-6 and try to go more places this year."
"The kids are working hard, they're buying into the program, and they seem to be excited about the upcoming year," Bridger added.
Union Star opens the season Aug. 6th against Southwest Livingston.