Eugene, OR -- In 2018, the Churchill Lancers watched their championship dreams come to an end in a heartbreaking loss in the quarterfinals. The team loss to the Thurston Colts by one point in the game. But even after losing a huge graduating class, the Lancers were able to regroup and come together during the offseason.
"We went to team camp and we got really close together," said linebacker Samuel Yanez. "Some, like we learned some stories about some players and we got really close together. So I feel like this year it's going to depend more on how hard we fight, not the talent we got and how close we stay together."
The Lancers are determined to not let the fallout from last season be an excuse for this year. Even with the change over to the roster, they say the mentality and the goals heading into the season remain the same; win a state championship.
"That's high school football you know," said head coach AJ Robinson. "High school football is cyclical, you'll get classes of kids that are really talented and you'll get classes of kids that aren't as talented and that's kind of the joy of the game. To coach the kids that are there, put the best product on the field that you can."
Along with the senior group, the Lancers will have to rely on a number of players who didn't play a big role in their postseason run last year. Players said they've bought in to the coaching staff's philosophy and even without high expectations, they expect to be competitive this season.
"Everyone wants to be here and wants to be better and is hungry to play hard. and so, even though they may not have started or played a lot last season they're definitely here to play and show out for the team."
In their first test this season, the Lancers fell to the defending champs, Thurston 54-0.