The numbers were heavily stacked against Chandler Seton Catholic last season.
A strong and tradition-rich program at the 2A and 3A levels, the Sentinels were simply outmanned during their foray into 4A-II.
Playing against schools whose enrollment was at least double and sometimes triple that of its 527, Seton found it hard to compete. The result was a 2-8 record, a mark which was difficult for many to stomach.
“A lot of the kids that played last year have used — it hasn’t been solicited — they’ve just used the word 'embarrassed’ about last year,” new coach Rex Bowser said.
While enrollment is about the same, there are two differences this season that should improve Seton’s record and prevent additional bruising of the ego.
The first is that there has been a spike in participation. While a majority of the starters played on both sides of the ball last season, Bowser said that barring injury he’ll have no more than four going two ways.
The other change is that the Sentinels will run the spread offense, which should help them overcome their lack of size. One of the biggest players on the field will be 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior quarterback Justin Sieczkowski.
While the spread can be complicated, Bowser said he has been pleased with how his players have taken to it.
“They’re very quick learners, and I think that’s the biggest thing we have going for us right now because I got such a late start,” said Bowser, who was hired July 8.
“Things have had to come together really fast because everything we’re doing is completely brand new.”
Hopefully that will mean winning consistently at the 4A level as well.