The Chester Cyclones are preparing to defend their crown as Class AAA state champions.
A state title has not influenced how head coach Victor Floyd and his staff prepare the team.
“Last year was a great year, but it is behind us,” Floyd said. “We are working to prepare for this season, which is a new season.”
Floyd said he has a good group of players returning.
“Our numbers are down, but they are down everywhere,” added the veteran coach. “What we look at is the quality of the players we have and the work ethic they bring with them. We have a good nucleus of players returning.”
Floyd said he has been pleased with the Cyclones’ efforts.
“We had a good summer,” Floyd said. “I think that we are just about where we need to be at this point in the pre-season.”
Floyd said he feels good about his offense. He believes his offensive line will be solid. Daniel Elkins returns at center. Zan Dunham, a sophomore, returns at quarterback, and Stan Mills, who gained over 1000 yards last year, is back at running back. Jarel Hill leads the receiving corp.
The defensive line, which Floyd describes as physical and quick, will be led by returning starters Teddy Murphy and Quay Evans. The linebackers will be spearheaded by Octaveon Minter and Javonti Jackson, both of whom have started for multiple seasons.
The secondary will be young.
Steven McGarrity will handle is the placekicker, but the punting chores have not been settled.
Floyd has high expectations for his players.
“I expect them to be leaders everywhere they go, and I expect them to be true student-athletes,” Floyd said. “On the field I expect them to be physical and have a good work ethic.”
The schedule is tough, but that is the way Floyd wants it.
“Our non-region games will help us to get ready for the region schedule,” Floyd said. “It is the same schedule as last year, but every team is different than a year ago. We will have to be ready.”
Floyd faces a challenge because every team wants to beat the defending state champions.
“We are not concerned about that,” Floyd said. “We will prepare for and play one game at a time. We will not look ahead at any time during the season. I am confident our players can handle it.
“We put pressure on ourselves to work hard and improve every day. We do not feel any extra pressure this season.”
When Floyd returned to Chester, he said he had some unfinished business. Winning the state championship last year completed the unfinished business.
Now he has a new mission for his team.
“I want our team to continue improving so that our program is solid,” he said. “I want our team to prove that we have a solid program and not just one lucky year.”
Next up: Lancaster