Editor's note: This story is part of The Daily Citizen-News' 2019 High School Football Preview. Pick up a copy of Thursday's paper, Aug. 22, or stop by our office for a physical copy of the special issue.
VARNELL -- Coahulla Creek High School football coach Caleb Bagley isn't looking to experience anymore heartache.
While each year for the Colts has seen a great deal of progression under Bagley's leadership, he said the last thing he wants to do is look backward.
"Even though we won one game last year, we felt like there were about three others that we just didn't finish," he said. "Of course you look back and think maybe if you did this or did that then you would have been able to win a couple of more games, but at the end of the day we feel like we turned over every rock that we could.
"Every year has gotten a little bit better. We have a full staff, our depth is up and our numbers are up, and in that first year we had to learn how to work every day. Last year we had to learn how to compete, and this year we have to learn how to finish."
The team's motto isn't something that Bagley said the program is taking lightly. In the past, the Colts have been forced to use players that were not necessarily ready but they are expecting more out of themselves this year, especially with 17 returning starters.
"We have the biggest senior class in school history and outside a couple of positions, we are more talented than we have been," Bagley said. "A lot of these kids have played for three years now. When they started as sophomores for us, they weren't really ready but they are ready now.
"We really use the motto as an everyday thing. We have really been trying to put them in positions where they have to finish when they are tired and they are hurting mentally. Kids lose focus, but it's not just them -- everybody. You lose focus when you are tired and when you are fatigued, so it's something that you have to think about and train your mind to block out and finish whatever it is that you're doing."
The Colts return senior quarterback Cade Bates, while he is backed by an experienced backfield of Austin Hernandez and Titus Underwood with a few others ready to provide reassurance. Protecting them is an interchangeable line of nearly all seniors.
If Coahulla Creek can finish in the moments that have doomed them in recent years, the future looks bright according to Bagley.
"Everybody that has ever won a lot of games has had to start winning at some point," he said. "You have to get to a point where you can compete and then somewhere along the way you have to win some games, especially a game against someone you're not supposed to. With that, we're ready to go."
Coach: Caleb Bagley (third year)
2018 record: 1-9, 1-6 in Region 6-3A
All-time school record: 7-63, first season in 2012
Region championships: 0
State championships: 0
2017 record: 0-10
2016 record: 0-10
2015 record: 2-8
2014 record: 0-10
Impact players: Cade Bates (senior, quarterback) -- 99-for-182 passing for 1,039 yards and seven touchdowns last season; Titus Underwood (junior, running back/linebacker) -- 103 carries for 502 yards and two touchdowns last season; Boone Creswell (senior, linebacker) -- 70 tackles with three tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries last season
Keep an eye on: Austin Hernandez (senior, running back); Tyler Locklear (sophomore, running back); Ethan Burse (senior, receiver/defensive back); Zandr' Burse (senior, defensive back/receiver); Hunter Lanier (senior, linebacker/tight end); Isaac Wiley (senior, lineman); Wade Wiggins (senior, lineman); Sterling Wilson (senior, lineman); Daniel Smith (senior, lineman); Jake Young (senior, lineman); Angel Cabrera (junior, kicker)