PEMBERVILLE, OH (WTOL) - A year ago, Eastwood won the NBC title by going 9-1 in the regular season. They eventually lost in the second round of the playoffs, but this year they expect an even better result.
The Eagles return 17 starters from that team, but there is one major change.
For the first time in 35 years, Eastwood will have a new head coach on the sideline.
Jerry Rutherford retired after last season. His son Craig is new head coach of Eastwood.
"We definitely miss him," Craig Rutherford said. "Obviously, he was a big part of the program. None of us remember Eastwood football before he was the coach. It's a little bit different, we miss him, but we definitely want to make sure we're making him proud and try to keep his legacy going."
"It's been a little bit different," senior Cade Boos said. "It's been a little bit weird. We know Coach C's (Craig Rutherford) been around for a little while. We all like him, so we just do what he says, because we're all on board with what we have to do this season because we want to make it a great season."
The expectations for this group are sky-high.
Because the Eagles return so much talent, they are a favorite to defend their conference title.
"We're expecting a lot because we return a lot," Boos said. "After a great season last year, we've got everybody back. We've got a lot of depth. We've got some great athletes. We're going to do something special this year."
"I would say we always have those expectations," Coach Rutherford said. "Whether people expect us to be that good or not. I think the league's going to be better than it's been in a long time, so there will be some challenges for sure. But we expect that out of ourselves anyway."
Eastwood begins their season at home against Ottawa-Glandorf.