Hawley is looking to build off their best season in school history. In 2013, the Bearcats went 6-6, winning their first postseason game ever.
"There is a lot of pressure, but I think we can easily overcome it and break history again," said Senior Lineman Lane Pickett. "I don't see why we can't be playing in December."
The Bearcats are primed to do just that. They return 11 starters from last season, including a majority of their offensive and defensive lines.
"It's a brotherhood," said Pickett of the Bearcat linemen. "I mean from the time we come on the field to the time we're off, we're always together. After practice we're always together. We're a family."
"It's always important to have those guys that are experienced and they know what it's like to play in big games," said Head Coach Mitch Ables on their experience. "That stuff can rub off on everybody and be contagious."
That experience will be key for Ables in his first year at Hawley. The former Hardin-Simmons wide receiver will also have to start by finding a quarterback. He has options too as it's a three-way battle for the starting job. Senior Rex Wyatt is the front-runner, but underclassmen Cade Frazier and Quay Stokes are also in the mix.
"I'm really pleased with how all three of them are playing right now," said Ables. "We're just going to look to see how it all plays out."
Which ever of the three earn the spot, the team is still confident and excited to play under Ables.
"He's really hyped up," said Senior Lineman Kason Florence. "He's trying to get us going. He's real excited about this year and getting everyone really pumped up."
"[The new coaching staff] fits our team really well," added Pickett. "They're very intense [and] bringing a new offense. I mean it's really gonna help us out a lot."