Bo Fleming is hoping for a turnaround middle school football season this year at Briarwood Academy.
One of the reasons: Improve on last year's dismal 1-6 record.
At this level, said coach Fleming, the record doesn't matter as much as the character-building aspects.
"We want to build character at this age level," said coach Fleming. "We want kids to have the desire and heart to play football and continue to do that when they get up to the varsity level."
He strongly believes it's going to be a much different season than the one experienced a year ago.
"I believe we're going to be a lot better than we were last season," said coach Fleming, who is beginning his fourth season as head coach of the middle school football program. "The kids have been working really hard to get ready for the season."
The young Buccaneers were scheduled to travel to Augusta today to play their first game of the season against Curtis Baptist School.
"This season, I believe we have a real good chance to be a much better football team," said coach Fleming. "We've been working towards that goal all summer."
This year's team has a lot of leadership qualities.
"Our eighth-graders are a great group of leaders," said coach Fleming.
The team will be led by Jack Russell, who plays quarterback and running back; Jackson Sims, running back and tight end; and Jake Brooks, running back and receiver.
"All three of them have experience and should help us a lot this season," added coach Fleming. "We'll be counting on them a lot."
Currently, the Buccaneers are focused on one main objective: To get better.
"That's all we're trying to do right now," said coach Fleming.
The Buccaneers have had three "good" weeks of practice in preparation for their first game of the season, remarked the head coach.
A total of 23 players make up this year's middle school football team at Briarwood Academy.
"It's great to have that many kids out for football at this age," said coach Fleming.
The secret to the success of the Buccaneers this season "will be to keep the football in our hands and run it," he explained. "If we do that, we'll be just fine."
Several players being counted on to help the Buccaneers to a successful season this year include: Dakota Reese, a fullback; Ty Gunter, reserve quarterback; Mason Kent, offensive tackle; Dusty Shelton, guard; Grayson Rhodes, tackle; and Austin Hardy, who has played starting center the past two seasons.
"We're going to be big and physical this year," said coach Fleming.
This year's team captains are: Austin Hardy, an eighth-grader; along with Will James, Ben Brunner, Austin Hardy and Jonathan Davidson -- all sixth-graders.
Coach Fleming is assisted by coach Kevin Cowart. Team managers are Allen Rogers and Conner Land.