DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Episode 19 of On the Road with Olivia and Claudia features two teams from DeKalb County.

Our first stop is Sylvania High home of the Rams who have high expectations after their 2022 season. The Rams finished 10-4 and made it to the state semifinals for the program’s first final-four trip since 1994.

Head coach Tyler Vann and his guys learned a lot last season some good, some bad and some ugly, and Vann says that’s only going to help the program going forward.

“We’re not happy by any means by what happened last year. We had some difficult losses we also had some big-time wins, but nonetheless, we learned from everything that happened last year from the wins, the losses, the bad plays and good plays we’ve learned,” Vann said. “We don’t just want to make runs we want to make it to the end and to do that it takes work every day and these guys are ready to work every single day and that’s why I love this group we’re just worried about the day that’s at hand so we’re excited.”

Vann says this year’s team is a special group for him; they’ve been with him since he took over the program, he’s had the chance to watch them grow up the past few years and he’s excited to take the field with them this fall.

“They were sophomores when I got there and I’ve been with them for three years. I’ve watched them grow and gain weight. They have the right mindset and they want to be great they don’t want to be good. They come in every day with the right mindset. When I first got there, we were preaching the little things and doing things the right way and these guys have done that and they’ve taught the younger guys and that’s the culture we’re building and so I’m really excited for the future of our football program.”

Joining the Rams in Class 3A Region 6 are the Plainview Bears who finished 4-6 in 2022. The Bears had a lot of seniors and freshmen last year but much smaller sophomore and junior classes, so it’s a bit of a younger group this season and they have some growing up to do.

Looking at this year’s group so far, what are some strengths that stick out to head coach Dale Pruitt?

“I think overall we’re stronger than we were last year, as far as physically, and that should help us in the weight room and with injuries,” Pruitt said. “We have more people that can play multiple positions. I think the fact that our kids, I’ve been around them a year, they know what we expect because every coach is a little bit different.”

Another difference that Pruitt is noticing from last season to this year is the locker room being more a player-driven team than a coach-led group, which is a huge benefit.

“If everything is coming from the coach then what do you do when you get away from the coach? We have people calling people out now and we had some of that last year, but we have kids holding other kids accountable and to be pretty honest about it our kids do a pretty good job of doing what we ask them to do as hard as they can,” Pruitt said.

Sylvania has a bye this week and will open at Saks on September 1; the Bears will host Priceville on Friday, August 25.