Park City High School senior Ian Moritz remembers the 1-9 season the football team suffered through two years ago. The quarterback also remembers the ups and downs of last year's 3-8 season, when the Miners returned to the playoffs before losing in the first round.
This year, he and fellow senior captains Josh Pelegrin and Bjorn Bornes hope to keep the Park City program's turnaround going.
With the season scheduled to begin on Aug. 22, when the Miners travel to Kamas to take on defending 2A state champion and county rival South Summit, Moritz said the entire team is itching to get back on the gridiron.
"I'm stoked," he said. "It's going to be a great year. We've been working hard all summer and it's going to be a really fun year."
"From what I've seen so far, we're leagues ahead of where we were last year," Pelegrin added. "I'm really excited for this senior year."
Both Pelegrin and Moritz, who have been in the Park City program for a long time, are looking forward to the added challenge of being team leaders.
"It's a different role, for sure," Moritz said. "I've always been the underclassman I've been playing up [at the varsity level] since I was a sophomore. Being a senior this year, it kind of gives me that much more drive to be better because I know the underclassmen are looking up to me.
"I know that everything I do, I'm being watched. I need to make sure I'm doing everything right all the time."
Pelegrin added that keeping team morale high is another responsibility for him and his fellow captains.
"I've got to keep them up, make sure they don't get down," he said. "And if they do get down, I have to get them back up and get the enthusiasm going again."
For Bornes, who is entering his first year in the Park City program after moving from Montana, becoming a part of the football team was much easier than he expected.
"They have a lot of chemistry," he said. "They accepted me the first day I came. It was a great experience to meet everyone and have them accept me so quickly into the program. It's always hard your senior year to move down to a completely different state, a different city, hoping to make a name for yourself. It's a really great experience to have such great friends on this team already."
Now, as a captain, the wide receiver/safety/punter hopes to help the Miners continue their rebuilding project.
"I'm excited to come to this Park City program," he said. "It's a lot better than I expected. The top of my goals is to win a state championship that should be everyone's top goal."
All three captains expressed a desire to be remembered as the class that brought Park City football back to relevance.
"I want to be that team that turns it around," Moritz said. "I think this year we seriously could. We could be that Park City team that turns it around for [coach Mike] Shepherd. I know he's a great coach and I want to be that team that helps him bring the program back."
"I want us to be the team that comes back and puts Park City back on top," Pelegrin echoed. "Get a region championship, maybe go to state."
But first, the Miners will have to deal with South Summit, a team that is just as eager to get its 2014 campaign underway. Still, Moritz said, it'll be great to see how much the Miners' hard work in the offseason pays off when it counts.
"I cannot wait until next week," he said. "South Summit's a great team with a lot of great kids. I know a couple of their players and I know they're working hard, too. I'm really excited for that game."
Even Bornes, who has never experienced the Summit County rivalry, is eager to see what the Wildcats have to offer.
"Me, having no idea who any of those players are on the other team, I'm excited," he said. "This team is enthusiastic to get back on the field."
Friday's game in Kamas is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. The Miners' first home game will be Friday, Aug. 29, vs. Preston (Idaho) at 7 p.m.