Carthage, Mo. — The Carthage Tigers are entering this season as the defending Class 5 state champs.
While the expectations are high this season, they’re just focused on what got them there in the first place — strong fundamentals and a one game at a time approach.
When you enter a season as the defending state champs, you can almost guarantee every team has your number.
“I definitely feel like there’s a target on our back for sure,” said senior offensive tackle Aiden Logan. “You know, everybody is coming for Carthage.”
“Teams coming after us, that definitely pushes us to be our best,” added senior quarterback Patrick Carlton.
Despite coming off of a historic season where they won their first state title, the Carthage Tigers have no intention of resting on their laurels.
“This is a brand new football team,” said head coach Jon Guidie. “You know, how are they going to respond to coaching? How is the chemistry going to be? How are they going to come together, all of those things. You know, i think they can learn off experiences that they had last year and hopefully build off that.”
They’ll be returning 10 starters, including all-state offensive tackle Aiden Logan and reining Class 5 offensive player of the year Patrick Carlton.
Even though the two have a state title and several individual accolades under their belts, their main focus is on the team’s success and establishing a long lasting culture of excellence.
“We’re trying to get more of an identity going,” said Logan. “I mean, we have a great identity right now, but we’re trying to get that machine feel to it. We’re trying to get the rhythm down. We’re trying to get everything down to a fine art out here, trying to get the fundamentals down early.”
“The upcoming seniors, we definitely need to have a way better leadership role for all the younger players,” said Carlton. “Just keep building in the program.”
While a championship is always the goal, for the Tigers, it’s about taking care of business one day at a time.
“We just want kids to come out and compete every single day in practice,” said Guidie. “We want them to have a great attitude when they’re out here, want them to care about each other and really give everything they have each week.”
Carthage will start their season off against Ozark at home on Aug. 28.