Athens County, OH (WTAP) -- The Athens High School Bulldogs are preparing for their football season with hopes of making it back to the playoffs.
The bulldogs made four straight trips to the postseason before missing the playoffs in the 2015 campaign.
Head coach Ryan Adams has been at the helm for 10 years, leading Athens to a handful of Tri-Valley Conference titles and a trip to the state championship game in 2014.
There are expected to be 67 players on the roster by week one, 16 of them are seniors.
Adams said the size of the front line this year is a strength for the team. It is one of the biggest lines he has had in his tenure.
The young men are committed and Adams believes their work ethic will help them thrive.
"We've got to be very blue-collar workers this year," Adams said of the team's approach.
"We've got to be willing to be in the grind get down and dirty and play really physical, smash mouth-style of football. We've got to get back to some old school football philosophies where we're going to attack teams defensively and wear teams down offensively up front."
The team has a strong core of seniors this year. There are 16 young men to be exact and they all know they have very important roles on this roster.
The bulldogs were inspired by the seniors of 2014 that helped get the team to the state championship.
The plan is to play every game with passion and rely on each other for support. The seniors did admit that it took them a little while to get comfortable with their new roles.
But along the way, they realized that dedication and being dependable were two traits every member of the senior class needed to be effective.
"We finally kicked it in gear in this second week of two-a-days," said kicker and defensive end Nate Gribble.
"We had a talk with everybody and i think we finally stepped up. I think all of the freshmen have really gotten on our backs and we're going to carry them."
"We're still in the beginning and I'm trying not to think about when it's going to be over after this," offensive lineman Brody Rodgers said of the season.
"I'm just trying to take it week by week and devote all of my effort into it."
"I would really want to get back to the playoffs for our senior year," said wide receiver and safety Andy Kostival.
"But as long as we know that we gave everything that we had, I think we'll be happy with out senior year."
The motto for this senior class is "leave a mark," and that is exactly what these Bulldogs plan to do as they rock the green and gold for one final season.
Athens opens up its season on August 26 against the Warren Warriors at R. Basil Rutter Field.