(LATHROP, Mo.) From 2008-2010, Lathrop managed just two wins, but in Mike Thompson's first season with the Mules, he doubled that win total.
It just took an attitude change.
"One of the things that really changed is that we believed we could win," senior Brandon Maddick said.
"The changes that we made last year were really in attitude and being more positive," Thompson said. "Playing every play one play at at time, and that's really what we're hoping to continue now."
Now three straight seasons with no more than one win in any of them seems like a distant memory.
"That's the beautiful thing about being young, short memory," Thompson said. "They kind of forgot that stuff, and they're ready to go be positive and play well."
But a year with a 4-6 record will not let the Mules fly under the radar any longer.
"There wasn't a lot expected of us by anybody, especially the people we were playing," Thompson said. "This year I think it'll be a little more difficult, as far as early in the season. They won't take a week off. They'll be more prepared for what we do, and more prepared to play us."
To compensate for the added attention Lathrop will receive, they have adopted a new motto: Fast and Furious.
"That's what we want to be," Thompson said. "We want to be fast on the football field and want to be in a bad mood when we get there. We want to play hard all the time."
"We might be lacking a little bit in our size area, but we're fast enough and we're mean enough that I think we can compensate for that easily," Maddick said.
The Mules hope that change in attitude and playing with chips on their shoulders can carry them to their goal.
"The ultimate goal is always a state championship isn't it? Some people think you're a dreamer," Maddick said. "You're never going to get a state championship. But if you fall a little short, you might be district champions. I say shoot big and see where you land."
Lathrop opens the season against King City.