Matt Hudson works with his lineman during Wednesday's practice at Mark Twain High School.
CENTER, Mo. (WGEM) -- The Mark Twain Tigers will take the field this year with one of, if not the, youngest group of players in tri-state football.
With as many as 13 underclassmen projected to start the learning curve is coming quick from head coach Matt Hudson.
"The way you come across with high school kids is extremely important but especially with a young team," Hudson told WGEM Sports.
"I try to help them out as much as I can and be more of a teacher. You just have to try to bring them a long as fast as you can, as quick as you can, and that's what I'm trying to do."
"You kind of have to get that first game in to really get a feel for it and get that learning experience," added junior lineman Corey Gilmore.
"Us older guys are really helping them out and we're coming to together as a good team."
After seeing action at quarterback late in his freshman campaign Ethan Mack steps in as the full time signal caller and appears ready to take on the responsibility of a leader.
"You get a little nervous at first," Mack expressed.
"When you get in there and step into that role you get used to it, and you just have to be a leader."
"We tell (Ethan) that a play only lasts about seven seconds," said senior lineman Aaron Miller.
"If you mess up, just get rid of it. It's only seven seconds of time, and we can make up for it the next play. As long as he does the best he can with what he can, then we're all good."
For this young Tiger team, what could be more important than the number of wins and losses in their final season in the Clarence Cannon Conference, is the amount of growth in the process to help set a foundation for the years ahead.
"Our whole goal was just to help the young kids be ready for that," Corey Gilmore expressed.
"The Clarence Cannon is one of the hardest conferences in Missouri, so you get one year into this, and you're going to be set for the EMO Conference, so we're just kind of getting them ready for it."
"That's being done as we speak," Hudson added.
"We're laying the ground work for what's getting ready to happen around here."
"The kids believe it, and I truly believe deep down in my heart that there are going to be some great things happening here over the next four or five years at Mark Twain."