The South Summit High School football team is coming off a year in which it won the 2A state championship, losing only one game in the process.
But, as the Wildcats prepare for the 2014 season, they can't shake the fact that they weren't perfect in 2013.
"We had a blemish last year," coach Jerry Parker said. "We want to rectify that. That's where we're at. Our kids are very motivated."
Though practice wasn't scheduled to start until 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening, most of the team was milling about by 5:30, talking with coaches, stretching and eagerly waiting to get on the field.
After all, that "blemish" Parker spoke of was a 26-24 loss to rival North Summit on Oct. 11 in Kamas. Parker and senior quarterback Ty Jones can't wait for the rematch on Oct. 10 in Coalville.
"It's not a good feeling at all to lose to your rivals," Jones said. "This year, we should have a perfect season, a state championship we've got to get that accomplished."
Overall, the state championship is the higher goal, but that doesn't mean the Wildcats don't already have the game against the Braves circled on their calendar.
"It's a rivalry game," Parker said. "We have a great rivalry with them and we're very excited about that. It'll be a good game. They're good they're bringing back their quarterback and a receiver who are really good."
Parker said the team isn't overlooking any of the other games on its schedule, but the rivalry game is always fun to play.
"We like it.
"The whole community is always there and it's always a really tight game," Jones added.
Helping the Wildcats in their quest for a second-straight state title will be a backfield that is very similar to last year's unit. Jones returns at the quarterback position and powerful running back Colby Averett is back for his senior season.
"I think we have lots of weapons," Parker said. "We have great skill kids coming back and we have two more wings that are going to be really good Quinn Zimmerman, who played corner last year, and Bracken Santos, who played free safety for us."
The biggest question mark for the Wildcats' offense, a unit that scored 458 points last year, is the offensive line. After losing anchors Brad Richins and Ty Clegg to graduation, the line will need several new players to step up.
"The only returner we have is Hunter Angel," Parker said. "We're kind of scrambling a bit there."
Though it's hard to know exactly how the new unit will fare until it's tested in game action, Parker said the early signs have been promising.
"What I see in the weight room is very positive," he said. "We're stronger than we've ever been and we have kids that are hungry. I'm really pleased about that. It might take us one or two games to get into a rhythm, but we've got people to put there that will do a really good job."
Jones has no reservations about going under center with a revamped offensive line.
"I've played with them my whole life, ever since little league, so I'm not worried about them," he said. "They work hard and they'll get the job done."
Defensively, Parker expects the linebackers, led by Averett, to again be one of the toughest units in the state. Last year, the stout Wildcats' defense allowed only 84 total points to opponents.
"Our linebacking corps is pretty much the same as it was last year, and they're tough," he said. "I look for our defense to be stellar again."
Jones said he wants to end his senior season with another state title, one that will mean a little more to him than last year's.
"It would be the greatest feeling ever," he said. "Last year, I kind of looked at it as it was the seniors' state championship and it didn't hit me as hard. We've got to win it this year as well."
The goal is an undefeated campaign, and Parker thinks the Wildcats have what it takes.
"They have the potential to do it," he said. "If we progress with our offensive line, we can be as good as last year, or better. We've got good kids. Last year, we had great chemistry and I think we've got that again this year."
The Wildcats begin their season on Friday, Aug. 22, against Park City. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff in Kamas.
South Summit Football Schedule
Friday, Aug. 22 vs. Park City 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 29 at Morgan 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 5 vs. American Leadership 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 12 at Beaver 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 19 at Summit Academy 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 26 vs. Gunnison 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 3 at Layton Christian 4 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 10 at North Summit 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 15 vs. Millard 7 p.m.