Leadership and a desire to play the game of football may well define the Thomson High Bulldogs on the gridiron this season.
"They've (players) got a different attitude than they had last year," remarked 78-year-old Luther Welsh, head coach, during a recent interview.
"We haven't had any discipline problems up to this point. I think that's an important and special thing to say about this team."
Coach Welsh said he feels good about that fact.
"In the past, we've had a few problems, disciplinewise," he said. "But this year has been different. I hope it stays that way."
Coach Welsh said when players missed any time in the weight room this summer they came back and made up for it.
"That has made me feel real good, because in the past, we've had to tell them they had to make up for the lost time in the weight room," said coach Welsh.
Aside from that characteristic, other positive points of this year's team include their overall senior leadership skills and the team's willingness to work hard and to do what coaches have asked of them, according to coach Welsh.
The last time a Thomson football team had those kinds of characteristics was back in 2000 -- the last time the Bulldogs won a state championship.
That's right, a state title.
Last year's team managed to win only two games. The other eight games saw the Bulldogs go down in defeat.
Coach Welsh vows this season won't be last year. It was his first losing season since being at Thomson on two different stints -- covering a period of 19 years.
"I never make predictions, but I'm going out on the limb, I guess you could say that we're going to win some football games this year," he pointed out.
No one would love it anymore than coach Welsh for his Bulldogs to get back to the winning ways that past Thomson teams have had under his reign as head mentor.
"We can do it, if we work hard," said coach Welsh. "It's all about how hard the players want to win."
Coach Welsh is pleased with the senior class of this year's team.
"We've got a lot of leaders out there this year," said coach Welsh. "And that's a good thing. They're a lot better than in previous years. We've finally got some leaders -- something we have been in need of for a long time. It's a blessing, a big relief. When they have to repeat drills, they don't complain. They just get in there and do it."
During a recent scrimmage game against the Lincoln County Red Devils, coach Welsh was pleased with the overall effort that his players gave.
The game ended in a 7-7 tie.
"I thought we played well at times," said coach Welsh.
"I saw a lot of things we've got to work on though, offensively."