WICHITA FALLS - The Rider Raiders went 4-7 last season, the first time they didn't play 500 ball under Head Coach Marc Bindel.
"It hurts, it hurts," Defensive Back and Wide Reciever Danari Curry said. "It's something you don't want to be a part of. It's not a bad thing, but yet it is because nobody likes to lose. And me being competitive and knowing my teammates are just as competitive, you can tell it really hurts."
"It makes me mad," Right Guard Andrew Frye said. "It makes me want to do better this season."
"The standard we have at Rider, 4-7, is not great," Bindel said. "We've made the playoffs six years in a row, still our record isn't where we want it. At the same time, you are what your record indicates. So, we knew that there had to be a change and we had to do things a little bit differently from the coaches, myself as the head coach on down."
One of the biggest changes to the Raiders is becoming more mentally and physically tough.
"We definitely have a better attitude our kids work a lot harder and I think there's just this kind of drive to be better," Bindel said. "They've been working really hard since November to get ready for the season, and that's awesome."
"Getting our heads on the right side of the ball, moving our feet, putting our hands in the right place," Frye said. "It's a bunch of small things because you know if the guy in front of you is bigger than you that's great and all. But if you can get all the tiny little details down then that's how we're going to run the ball."
"We lost a couple of talented people," Bindel said. "I think about on offense, both the Willies. Willie Cherry, Willie Phillips and really Brice Hughes as well, that was the majority of our offensive production. So, we're having to replace a lot of yards."
Jorge Vargas is stepping up to take the snaps after finishing last season with 700 yards passing, and eight touchdowns.
"He looks really good right now, He's on point," Bindel said. "He's always had a strong arm, he's always been really smart, but even his athleticism and his leadership, he's taken the next step. We're going to go as far as he takes us. He's looked unbelievable and if he plays well we're going to have a chance to win every game."
While the Raiders will place plenty of trust in their quarterback, they'll also place trust in their head coach.
"We all trust him and we all know that he knows what he's doing," Frye said. "So, when we see that we trust him and it gives us an idea of what we're supposed to do."
"I think as I've grown, not only as a coach, but as a head coach," Bindel said. "Winning is important, it's Texas high school football, you have to win or you're not going to have a job. But I think I've gotten to the point where I'm more comfortable with who I am and I know in the big picture of things the wins and losses aren't really what matters, what matters is what kind of men we're doing to have."
"I just want to be a great teammate honestly, just be there for my teammates," Curry said. "I don't think it's so much on the field, but off the field, be able to build a relationship with all of them. And make sure that they know that I'm always there for them, that I love them and care for them. And that we're not just a football team, or I'm not just their teammate, I'm really their brother."
Their goal is to take it one game at a time.
"Of course, everyone wants to win state, but me personally I want to go for one win at a time," Frye said. "Play it every week, practice for the game we're going to."
A bigger roster, better communication, and a 4, sometimes 5 person…