Countdown to Kickoff (Parkersburg Catholic): Crusaders are a small team with a big plan

Parkersburg, WV - His return to being a head coach last season didn't go as planned for Shriver. But he's certain things are much different months later.

"2016 we're much improved. We had a really good off-season in the weight room, so our strength and conditioning has really improved. Our team speed has increased as well. We've got several guys under the 5.0 mark. That's going to be a plus for us." Parkersburg Catholic head coach Curt Shriver said.

Numbers are always an issue for Parkersburg Catholic. This year's team features just 18 players, but fortunately many of them are familiar faces for Shriver's second team.

"We've got seven seniors coming back this year and they all played last year. Some of them are three-year starters already coming back entering into their senior year. They've got a lot of football under their belt. Alex Hinton's a three-year starter at the QB spot. Ryan Rodersheimer's been a skill player for us. Isaac Walters is on the offensive line. We've just got a lot of senior leadership this year." Shriver said.

The players are ready to put the past behind them and get Catholic back to being a postseason participant in the small schools class of West Virginia.

"Well last year we gained a lot of experience because of a senior class we graduated a couple of years ago. Our guys last year got a lot of experience and even some juniors got their first good minutes. That's mostly what we gained out of last year. Coming into this year a lot of guys put in a lot of hard work in the off-season. I've seen a lot of guys working in the weight room and the three-week period. I know it's going to pay off this season." Parkersburg Catholic senior quarterback/defensive back Alex Hinton said.

As always Catholic will face a challenging schedule week after week.

"We can't overlook any of the teams that we have. They are all quality programs. I think this year we are going to be able to turn the tide. Turn that 1-9 around and win some games this year." Shriver said.

It all starts next Friday, August 26, on the road at Buffalo.

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