LEWISTOWN, MO. (WGEM) -- Highland senior lineman Riley Eisenberg has had enough of seeing his team on the wrong end of the final score.
"I've been sick of losing ever since I lost my first game freshman year," Eisenberg said.
"I've never been a fan of losing. I think the moment when we think losing is okay is the moment we've already lost."
Eisenberg and the Cougar seniors have witnessed a total of six wins over the last three years.
It's Dave Degarmo's shot at trying to turn the tide towards success. The former Unity/Payson defensive coordinator is now in charge.
"Our goal right now is just work on fundamentals, simplify things offensively and defensively," Degarmo explained.
"The schemes aren't that much different than what they were running in the past."
According to Eisenberg, "Everyone has kind of got a clean slate, no matter what happened last year. The new coaches don't know us, so there's never a guaranteed spot. Everyone is out there giving it their all to earn every position."
The sense of optimism starts with experience up front, despite the loss of senior Seth Goings because of multiple concussions.
Jace Jagger provides a boost with the switch from running back to the offensive line.
"I love the guys up front. They're different. They like hitting more. I think they have more than the skill guys," Jagger said. "I'm perfectly fine being with the big guys up front."
Degarmo added: "His leadership on the line has boosted those guys, along with Chad Smith and Riley Eisenberg, guys that are already leaders there."
Highland will feature a brand new backfield, including first-year starting quarterback Chance Newton.
"I've been playing with these kids ever since third grade. It's just an honor to be able to help these seniors out for their last season, and then try and put the team in the best position I can," Newton said.
"He's smart," Degarmo said of Newton. "He'll take the play and he'll do his thing but it fits within our scheme."
On the defensive side of the ball the Cougars know last year's average of allowing opponents to score 42 points a game has to improve.
Degarmo is sending a clear and simple message to his players.
"One thing I want to say about Highland defense is we're going to get 11 guys to the ball and we're going to be angry when we get there."