MONTICELLO — The Monticello Billies have seen a decline in win total every year since winning a state championship in 2009.
The 14-win ’09 campaign was followed by 8 wins in ’10, 7 in ’11, 5 in ’12 and 4 last year as part of a disappointing 4-7 season.
In Marty Davis’ first year at the helm, the Billies believe they can buck that trend and in the process surprise a lot of people.
“Our kids feel as though they have a chance to be better than what people think they can be,” Davis said. “We can’t be satisfied with where we are at. Our goal is to be competitive in every game.
“We talk about getting better every day and being better than we were at this point last year. And, so far, every day we’re getting better.”
Davis, who was an assistant under former head coach Greg Tiner, said Monticello is benefitting from returning several players who saw valuable snaps last year.
The Billies’ deepest position is at wide receiver where at least five seniors return to compete for time.
“Wide receiver is probably our strongest position,” Davis said. “A majority of them played a lot last year, but we do have some guys coming in.”
The receiving corps has been working with two quarterbacks leading into the season. Senior Garrett Jeffers tore his labrum in the fifth game last year, but he is back and competing for the starting job with sophomore Jeff Carmical.
Senior Ryan Case said he and his fellow wide receivers have started clicking with both QBs as camp has progressed.
“We’ve got a younger guy that’s coming in,” Case said of Carmical. “He’s doing real well. Our senior (Jeffers), he’s still recovering from a shoulder injury, but he’s getting in the groove.
“We’re getting back on it, just connecting with each other.”
Even though Davis says he didn’t change much tactically, wide receiver/safety Isaiah Foster said he likes the way his new coach has implemented his style.
“I definitely like the way he wants us to be aggressive,” the senior said of Davis. “He wants us to be mean. But he also emphasizes how he wants us to keep each other’s backs and look after each other.
“He emphasizes that when we get on the football field — when we’re in the blue and white — we’re a family. I really like that about him.”
The wide receivers might be accounted for, but Davis knows there are still some key position battles to be decided. He said those competitions are good and that he likes the way his team is coming together.
“Got to still lock down some positions on offense,” Davis said. “Running back and quarterback are the two. Running back is a key question for us right now. …
“Basically, our goal is to be better than we were last year. I feel like we are better at this point than last year.”