(CAMERON, Mo.) After consecutive eight seasons, the Cameron Dragons were needing something to help turn the program around, and they may have found it.
"Coach White," senior Nathan Fagerstone said. "He's new, and it's turning the team around."
Jeff White spent three years as head coach at Gallatin, but was back in Cameron last season as an assistant. Now it is his team.
"We kind of looked at it like a rebuilding project, and we had certain steps to things we wanted to do," White said. "The first one was get more kids out, the second was get participation up in the summer time, and then get the kids excited and to start playing together. So far, so good. We've seen a lot of positives."
White says the team numbers are up from the low 50s last year to 68 students out for football in 2012, and the weight room has been full throughout the summer.
"We had a lot of kids that needed somebody just to push them and try to get them to come out, and we basically just invited them. 'Hey come out, try it out for a few days. No strings attached. If you don't like it that's fine. Just give it a shot.'"
Now the increased numbers have created position battles, something that Cameron did not have much of last season.
"We just didn't have it," senior Jeremiah Barnes said. "We thought we were doing really well. We came out there, it didn't work, so this year to have competition is making us all a lot better."
"We push these kids hard," White said. "The intensity's there from the coaches, the enthusiasm. And I think the kids are seeing that and are enjoying what they're doing."
The motivation from White and his staff are bringing this hungry team together.
"We're coming together a lot better this year," Barnes said. "And I think we're going to shock a lot of people."
The Dragons open the season on the road at Pembroke Hill.