"We took two steps back last year, now we have to take three steps forward to try to get back to where we wanted to before," head coach Kevin Bryan said.
In 2011, the Bulldogs were one step away from a state championship appearance, but had only three seniors come back to lead last season's squad.
"I think more than anything was the inexperience of it. We started five sophomores on either side of the ball, and in this conference you're not going to win very many with sophomores playing against seniors."
With experience coming back in 2013, one of the strengths for the Bulldogs should be along the offensive line with three returning starters including at left guard and tackle.
"That's one of those things, your blindside, you have to protect that well, and we have two kids returning there," Bryan said. "We also have our right tackle returning so that's going to help us. I think our offensive line's going to be a lot better than last year. They've got some experience, and we've changed a little bit of the blocking schemes."
Improved play up front can only make quarterback Eddie Kilgore that much better as he enters his second season at the helm.
"I feel like I've matured a lot from my peers," Kilgore said. "I've had a lot of guys show me the ropes when I was younger. They showed me how to lead and the right ways to do it, so I just try to pass that along to all the younger guys."
After taking their lumps in 2012, the Dawgs are expecting their experience all over the field to pay off.
"It's not just going to be one big receiver that you have to watch out for. We've got guys at all four spots that can make big plays any play."
In a loaded KCI Conference, East Buchanan will need to have different guys step up each night to get back to its 2011 form.
"This conference is very, very tough every Friday night," Bryan said. "And you have to be ready to play. But I'm looking forward to us having a good year."
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