The Dawson County Tigers hit the football field early last Thursday in preparation for their opening game at East Hall on Aug. 23.
"Turnouts for workouts this summer has been really good, as has our senior leadership," said Coach Jeff Lee. "The players are really excited about the upcoming season."
The Tigers are coming off a 6-5 campaign in 2012 and first round play in a 72-28 loss against St. Pius in the state playoffs.
The team's returning for the 2013 season minus several key players, specifically prolific passer Tyler Dominy, who finished his high school career completing 178 of 284 passes for 2823 yards and 31 touchdowns.
"It will be hard to replace a player like Tyler," Coach Lee said. "He brought so much to our team not just athletically but with his leadership skills."
Replacing Dominy at quarterback looks like it will be Zach Buchan, who has had a good summer and commands leadership on the field.
"Buchan has attended many quarterback camps in preparation for this season," Lee said.
Among the camps were the prestigious Manning Quarterback Academy in Louisiana and the University of Georgia quarterback camp.
Also gone is top receiver Bruce Clark, who ended last season with 45 receptions for 787 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Running back Zach Martin will also have to be replaced not only on offense but on defense, as well. He had 612 yards rushing and 10 TD's for the Tigers last season.
Other seniors missing are Cole Waters, Jacob Wilkie, Levi Samples, Cale Tallant, Blake McDaniel, Harley Vaughn, Matthew Hammond, Will Anglin, Cody Smith and Mitchell Putnam.
But the Tigers must move on, and the opening game and Region 7-AAA match-up against the Vikings, who they handled in a 42-0 victory at Tiger Stadium last season, is the place to start.
Lee said this year's team is ready to lay their own page in Tiger football history books.
Chris Sayler is expected to have a fine season for the Tigers from his wide receiver position.
Returning skill players include Jackson Putnam, Cody Lamar, Keaton Toal, Scott Zadernak and Logan Hayes.
On the defensive side, Lee said he will depend on the play of Zack Lane at linebacker and Zach Guy at defensive back.
Along the line on both sides of the ball, the Tigers will rely on players like Chase Wilson, Jacob Haberkam, Corbin Thomas, Mason Bennett, Cole Smith, Zack Lane and Eli Brown.
The Tigers will depart for camp at Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA in Black Mountain, N.C., on July 31. Practice in full pads begins Aug. 1.