FREDERICK — Last season was a forgettable one for the Frederick football team.
The losses mounted and the wins were impossible to attain. The Warriors lost 3-0 in their season opener against Conifer and fell 34-7 in Week 9 to Niwot, a team that hadn't won a game in over two years. The Warriors were shut out three times and didn't score more than 12 points in a game.
The Warriors finished 0-10.
It just wasn't a good season, certainly not a very fun one. But that season ended nine months ago and the Warriors aren't dwelling on it. They're looking forward.
"We're trying to get closer as a team and we've got way better leadership this season," senior running back Hartsoch said. "We're playing as one again. We should be better. Our defense is tougher and our line is bigger and better and our overall dedication is just better. We're trying to help each other out so we can strive for the best."
Hartsoch was a freshman in 2013, the Warriors' last winning season.
The Warriors offense will return its leading rusher from 2015 in Hartsoch and the defense will still line up in its traditional eight-man fronts. The main on-field focus, according to head coach Thad Lear, is to get back to what made the Warriors a winning team from 2010-13.
In the locker room, the Warriors are working to restore the program's winning attitude.
"We've got a really good group of kids and we spent a lot of time working on leadership in the offseason," Lear said. "The attitudes and the overall outlook have been positive and our guys are committed to the team concept. Three years ago we were in the midst of a four- or five-year run of playoffs and were ranked No. 1, so it comes and goes quickly. Our kids are excited and upbeat and doing the right things. The attitudes are different. That's all I can say."
There's nowhere for the Warriors to go but up in 2016. Their campaign to start turning things around begins on Friday against Fort Lupton, a team that won just one more game that the Warriors did in 2015.
"Obviously, any success would be better than last season," senior left guard Robert Case said. "We were cursed with injuries, people who were ineligible, people who were disqualified, everything. We'd be happy with winning our opening game and that's all we can plan for at this point."
COACH: Thad Lear (19th year, 71-111).
LAST YEAR: 0-10, 0-7 Class 3A Northern League.
RETURNING STARTERS: Ethan Carder (Jr., DL, 6-1, 245); Robert Case (Sr., OL, 5-10, 220); Michael Castro (Sr., OL, 5-8, 195); Jacob Cole (Jr., LB, 5-10, 185; Kerric D'Arcy (Jr., OL, 6-2, 225); Dakota Duran (Sr., DB/WR, 5-9, 160); Lance Hartsoch (Sr., RB/DB, 6-0, 175); Matt Johnson (Jr., LB, 6-1, 215); Forrest Mores (Sr., DL, 6-2, 220); Mateo Rives (Jr., TE/LB, 6-2, 225); Matt Olsen (Jr., DB, 6-0, 175; Austin Stephens (Sr., LB/TE, 6-1, 185).
OTHERS TO WATCH: Justin Bauer (Sr., DL, 6-3, 185); AJ Castroneta (Sr., OL, 5-8, 225); James Jones (Jr., DE, 6-2, 200); Braden Robinson (Sr., DE, 5-10, 175).
STRENGTHS: The Warriors return plenty of players with varsity experience, most of whom have grown physically and mentally after last year's young team struggled.
WEAKNESSES: One of the hardest things the Warriors will have to do is forget the past and figure out a way to move on from last year's winless season.
Sept. 2 — FORT LUPTON, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — at Conifer, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — SILVER CREEK, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — NORTHRIDGE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — at Centaurus, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — HOLY FAMILY*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 — at Mead*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — BERTHOUD*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — at Roosevelt*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — at Erie*, 7 p.m.
Note: Home games in upper case.
* Asterisks denote Class 3A Northern League opponents.