At Central Lee, football used to be an afterthought. That is no longer the case anymore after the program's first trip to the postseason in 2015. And after a return trip in 2016 this year's batch of Hawks are ready to take flight using same speed that has carried them the last two years.
"We have the same speed we had last year but with the guys we have this year, I think we've gotten even faster," said senior quarterback Austin Gaylord.
Leading the charge this season is new head coach Nick Ehret who is bringing his own style to a team that has only lost four games in two years.
"Obviously with my system coming in the big thing is just finding out who can do what and where they can best fit in the scheme," he said.
"I'm and old school pro-style guy. I'm not spread. We run the ball quite a bit."
Ready to take another step toward a postseason berth the Hawks are employing some new offensive schemes and turning things over to fullback-turned-quarterback Austin Gaylord.
"It's been kind of difficult trying to relearn a position but, overall, I think it's been an easy transition with the new offense that's we've been putting in," he said.
"He's done a great job, so far, for us and he is a weapon himself so he'll definitely have the ball to run some on Fridays, as well," said Gaylord's head coach.
Gaylord might be new at taking snaps but his line up front definitely isn't inexperienced.
"I have complete confidence in them. They've been the same guys for the last two or three years and I have complete confidence that they will do what they need to do," said Gaylord.
"We've had the same guys for quite a while and each year they seem to get bigger and better and I think this year we'll be able to read a lot with that this year," said senior lineman Cacey Davis.
Meanwhile, on defense the Hawks are no slouches either after returning 13 seniors for 2017.
"We're pretty quick. I'm feeling like we can do a lot of good things back there. We have plenty of guys who can makes plays," said Davis.
Central Lee kicks off the season with a bang, hosting Lee County rival Keokuk on August 25.