"It definitely hurts, but I wouldn't count us out," senior guard Brian Juhl said.
"I wouldn't look down on us. I'd say that we could be just as good as we've been every other year," sophomore quarterback Matthew Corkins said.
The Lions hope to duplicate last season's high-flying offense that scored more than 48 points per game, and it starts with an offensive line anchored by seniors Chase Ford and Brian Juhl.+
"In the past we haven't been sure about who is going to be playing at the line," Juhl said. "This year I think that's where we're going to be most solid is our blocking."
Juhl and the rest of his line-mates will be protecting Corkins in his first full year at quarterback.
Corkins got some varsity snaps last season when David Beard was hurt. Head coach Mark Juhl believes he could be one of the best quarterback he's had since Justin McElroy in 2006.
"He's one of those guys that has a lot of confidence, and he really has a lot of tools for a sophomore," Mark Juhl said.
Despite just one year of varsity experience, Corkins steps into a leadership role alongside the St. Joseph Christian seniors as the Lions bring in a large group of first year players.
"I think we'll probably have ten freshmen, and we're going to have to start some of them," Mark Juhl said. "That's just the way it is in sports. You take what you have and do what you can with what you have and see what happens."
"This is the first year that I've seen where we've required this much of the younger kids, but these classes more so than any others, I definitely see that they're going to step it up. I know they have the heart," Brian Juhl said.
The Lions will be tested early. The Lions face North Andrew Friday, a team that beat them by at least 50 points twice last season.
"North Andrew, they handled us last year," Brian Juhl said. "I don't know how it's going to turn out, but I do know one thing and that's no matter what happens we're going to give it our all. We always do."