The Blue Jays' road to the Class 1 playoffs started rocky in their first year under Nate Danneman, going 2-7 in the regular season
"Right at the beginning we had some character issues last year. We had to take care of those first," Danneman said. "Towards the end, everyone started following into those leadership roles a little better. They really surprised me how well they came together towards the end of the year. Some teams would have just fallen right off."
Resurrecting the season and putting up 46 points in a sectional loss to Hamilton gave the Blue Jays the offseason momentum they needed.
"It made these kids even hungrier this year. That's all we're talking about is another district championship and making it past the quarterfinals."
There's reason to believe in a betters start with West Platte returning seven starters on both sides of the ball. Where there is fresh blood is at the skill positions, and it begins under center. Danneman plans to move senior Cody Guthrie from receiver to quarterback to replace Jack Callahan.
Guthrie plans to use his experience and elusiveness as a pass catcher to run the Blue Jays' option attack.
"I know what it feels like to have a guy coming up on your back, so I'm not going to grill my receivers if they drop a pass," he said. "We've started rolling again, so I'm looking forward to this year."
If the Blue Jays pick up where they left off in the playoffs, they could prove to be a bigger problem for the KCI Conference. Now with faith in Danneman's system and a year of it already under their belts, that is the plan.
"You want to prove to the conference that you're an elite team," senior receiver and safety Ben Heili said. "We're definitely looking for more out of the regular season this year."