The Wildkats highest win total since 2010 is just three, but there is some excitement around the program entering year four under Micah Breckenridge.
"Some of the kids that haven't been out in the past are kind of wanting to get on board," Breckenridge said.
The Wildkats are seeing improved numbers with 35 players on the team, and the new athletes join in a season of change.
Union Star sends five players to King City for the first year of a high school football co-op between the two programs.
"First week of weightlifting when it started, they came in and we welcomed them in and they just started lifting like they've been here for three or four years," King City senior Skylar Lane said.
The familiarity between the towns that are just nine miles apart has helped the players ease into the transition.
"We've known these kids from other sports because we play all the time," King City senior Christopher Eaton said. "They fit right in. Our towns are close enough, and we get some nice competition between them, but it's all friendly."
David Bridger, Union Star's coach from a season ago, joins the staff working with the defensive line.
Offensively, the Wildkats are adding some new wrinkles. Former Maryville and Troy assistant coach, as well as King City native, Todd Shifflett brings an up-tempo style mixing in some no-huddle.
"We don't have to waste time on that. We just go up to the line and we're ready to go smack them in the mouth," King City junior Walker McCallon said.
"Our team is very well-conditioned," Eaton said. "We strive very hard for that, and we have some really good skill players this year and our offensive line is really quick, as well as strong. So we're going to be able to put up points."
King City will need a complete effort to break through with a winning record in the GRC, but the journey begins later this week. The team's already focused on opening the season with a solid showing in the jamboree.
"We're trying to take it one step at a time," McCallon said, "and right now we have our eyes on Mid-Buch and Gallatin."