TONTOGANY, OH (WTOL) - Otsego finished the season strong with a 7-3 record, but they failed to make the playoffs.
This year, their goal is to make the playoffs, nothing less.
"That's what pushes us: That we were so close last year and we still didn't make it," said junior quarterback Mitchell Downs. "We want to make those goals and that's what we're mainly focused on this year."
Last year, the Knights had several young players in key roles. This year, head coach Matt Dzierwa hoping this is the season those growing pains pay off.
"A lot of these kids played when they were freshmen, you know, and that's what our plan was, and that's what we hoped for. And that's what they did last year too, you know, they took a lot of steps forward," Coach Dzierwa said. "We knew we were playing them when they were young and they shouldn't have been playing varsity football at that point, but they did and, you know, they took their lumps, and, you know, now they look like varsity football players, and hopefully they're going to play like it."
Downs is returning back under center. He saw time in the pocket as a freshman before the starting job was his last year. For him leadership is the key.
"The key is that the returners are going to lead the new guys that are going to be playing, they're going to show them the way," Downs said. "Hopefully those new guys will pick up right away and play fast."
While it may be cliché, Downs says they cannot look too far ahead if they want to achieve their goals.
"Not letting that get to us, we just focus day-by-day on getting better every day," Downs said. "We haven't played a game, we haven't proven anything."
"We just got to take it one game at a time," said senior wide receiver and cornerback Lance Sniegowski. "Focus on each week and get better every day and hopefully make it past week 10."
Otsego opens up their season on the road at Evergreen.