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MADISON, Ala.- The Bob Jones Patriots are consistent when it comes to making the playoffs but they’re still in search of the program’s first state championship. If they want to hoist the blue map this year in class 7A, it’s going to take a total team effort.

“I see us getting better,” says head coach Kevin Rose.  There have been times this summer when you look at each other and say “we’re in trouble” but we seem to be getting better. I feel like the last three days, we’ve made a ton of progress.”

Ask head coach Kevin Rose and he’ll tell you. He’s heading into his ninth season at the helm and says this is the youngest Patriots squad he’s ever coached. There are just four returning starters on both sides of the ball and a whopping 45 sophomores on the roster. While those 10th graders don’t have much experience on the varsity level, they’re not unproven.

“The sophomore class last year went 8-0 as freshman,” says Rose. “It’s a good football team with good players on it. We’re gonna play them. Might take some shots early but we’re gonna have a good football team.”

Rose is relying on the young guys to make plays and veteran guys like offensive lineman Caleb Lawson and defensive end Gavin Lewis to pave the way.

“As seniors, we’ve done a great job at developing the younger guys and establishing a sense of leadership in the locker room,” says Lawson. “Let them know anyone can be a player for us this year, anybody can fill a big role for us and I think that’s really gonna help us.”

Like any other team, the Patriots hope the season ends with a trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium. But before they can focus on a title, they have to tackle game one against Central-Phenix City on August 25th. Rose things game one could be the most important on the schedule.

“Kids are so impressionable and so emotional and you can talk to them about mental toughness but they’re impacted by the outcome,” says Rose. “If we can go to Phenix City and compete and get after it and take it down and have a chance to win at the end then I think we would leave there with a lot of confidence.”