Archer City head coach Josh Castles is back home again, leading the football team at his alma mater.
"It's pretty special," Castles said. "It's as neat as I thought it would be."
A new man at the helm is one of several changes for the Wildcats program this upcoming season. Castles brings a new offense, switching the scheme from the veer to the spread offense. His quarterbacks threw in the summer to help prepare for the change.
"Anything that's new is usually exciting, so they're buying into it," Castles said. "If they buy into it, you can be successful."
Everyone must adjust to the new scheme, including the blockers up front. Senior right guard Sean Newton is still getting used to lining up in a two-point stance.
Complicating the change is the new faces that will take snaps this season. Starter Marty Jentsch will miss the entire season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The senior was a dual-threat QB, throwing and running for over 1,000 yards last season.
"You can't replace him. He's the real deal," Castles said.
Three different players are expected to take snaps, a situation Castles is familiar with. While head coach at Bowie and Seymour, Castles would rotate signal callers throughout the game. The head coach is expecting all players, not only the new quarterbacks, to step up.
"I think the team is pulling together good," Newton said. "We're having guys step up, younger guys, filling positions that need to be filled. We're just going to get it done."
For Castles, he says the challenges make his job fun. The expectations for the Wildcats remain the same: make the playoffs and make some noise in the postseason.
The Wildcats went 9-4 last season, advancing to the Class I-A Div. II Regional Semifinals before falling to district rival Windthorst 28-20. With the loss of a big senior class, Castles knows his team will be under the radar.
As for the attitude about the upcoming season, senior Weston Wuthrich summarizes it best.
"We're going to have to work together as a team," he said. "(We have to) work hard every day, try and get better and see how far we can go."