Lebanon, Ore. -- "We lost three games last year by a combined total of six points, or something like that," recalls Lebanon head football coach Ty Tomlin. "So this year for us, we've been really working hard on guys understanding how the little things matter. So we got to work on our leadership ability and get the seniors this year to understand their role and hopefully those things will take care of itself."
After a 6-3 season and 5A state quarterfinal run in 2017, Lebanon high school is back and sees better senior leeadershup as a key this year.
"This season is a lot about the chemistry we built with each other," says senior Colton Shepard. "You know, last year we didn't really have it. Especially with the seniors this year, we kind of took that leadership, and I think it's going to really help this year."
"Just not our physical aspect but our mental aspect," explains Chase Miller, another senior. "Just knowing the plays and not jumping off the ball."
The self-motivated nature of these seniors also sets up a culture and standard for the year.
"It sort of sets a mindset as well," Coach Tomlin says. "You sort of put your deposits in the bank there and you get pay days on Fridays. So we don't get to have those pay days until we put those deposits in during the year. So our kids and our senior group is a really good group and a really solid group. And they wanted to hold their hat to that and say 'we are not going to let what happened last year, happen this year'. And we are going to put that work in the weight room."
And that is going to matter in a stacked 5A Willamette league.
"Our league is so good," exclaims Tomlin. "It really is. Our coaches in this league are so good. They prepare really well and man, they're just really good."
With that hope and leadership from its' senior class, Lebanon may be poised to be towards the top of the league come 2018.