The story has been the same in each of the last couple of years for the Avon Grove High School football team: come flying out of the gate early in the season, but then struggle late.
Avon Grove has finished 4-6 overall in each of the last two years, and the Red Devils still find themselves searing for their first winning season since the program started in 2002.
The players are tired of coming close.
"We have a senior laden team this year and we all want to go out with a winning season. We'll do whatever we can to make that happen," said Avon Grove senior Jordan Harris, a running back/free safety who is being recruited by a number of Division I schools. "That's serving as a lot of motivation for us this year. We think we're a real solid football team and we're looking forward to going out and proving it."
The Red Devils will open up their 2009 campaign tomorrow evening when it travels to neighboring Kennett.
A year ago Avon Grove finished 4-6 overall (2-4 league) with the majority of those loses coming while competing in the challenging Ches-Mont League National Division.
"Our conference is very, very tough," said third-year Avon Grove head coach Marvin Dooley, "but we have a lot of experienced seniors and this is the best team I've had since I've been here. These kids have ran our system for three years now.
"A winning attitude is something this program is lacking. We've been close to our first winning season, but we haven't had it yet. The kids have worked extremely hard and they're ready to change that."
Avon Grove returns six starters on offense, and seven on defense this fall.
Along with Harris some of the key players for Avon Grove this fall are senior Kyle Kush (quarterback), junior Brendan McGlaughin (fullback/linebacker), senior Wes Shoap (linebacker) and senior Mike Geffcoates (lineman).
"A lot of us have been starting since we were sophomores," said Kush, the team's signal caller. "We are at the point where we know what to expect, and now it's time to go out there and win some games."
The Red Devils are looking forward to getting out on the field for the first time tomorrow night at Kennett.
"We're ready to go," said Dooley. "We've been going at it hard in practice and we've had some great scrimmages. Now we are ready to find out if the bullets are for real."
Sept. 4 @Kennett 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 @Oxford 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 Unionville 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 26 Bishop Shanahan 1 p.m.
Oct. 2 Downingtown East 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 @W.C. East 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 @Downingtown West 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 @Great Valley 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 W.C. Henderson 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 Coatesville 7 p.m.