After going winless in 2012 and 1-8 in 2013, the Sparta High School football program knows the results can only get better.
They're hoping this is the year the win/loss column goes upward, but will have to do so with limited experience. Sparta returns only 11 seniors and 13 juniors.
"It's a good group but we're going to have some sophomores that haven't had any varsity experience and any varsity reps," head coach John Blaha said. "So experience will be one of those challenges."
The experience he does have rests with his offensive line, a unit that returns all but one starter, and anchored by center Kody Smith.
"It's the cliché we'll go as far as our offensive line goes," Blaha said. "If they have success, we will. If they struggle, we'll struggle."
The senior group, though small, has a lot of responsibility this season in Blaha's mind.
"It comes down to leadership and willingness to fight through tough times," he said. "We place that on our seniors."
Sparta travels to Black River Falls Friday to open the season.