LINDSIDE, WV (WVNS) – Last season, the James Monroe Mavericks made their second state championship game in school history, but ultimately came up just short on Wheeling Island.

They say they aren’t dwelling on the past, but the pain of that loss still exists for many of them.

“I really stopped thinking about it during the offseason, but now since football is starting it’s just staying in the back of my head the whole time,” said Senior Running Back Chaz Boggs.

“For myself, of course, it hurt to lose that game, but once that season is over I’m always ready to move into the next one. I think most of the kids are that way,” added Head Coach John Mustain.

This year, James Monroe comes into the season full of belief.

Last season, all three state champions finished as runners-up the year before. The Mavericks believe they can continue that trend in 2023.

They will be led by some familiar faces from last year’s team, including Running Backs Chaz Boggs and Cooper Ridgeway, and Junior Quarterback Layton Dowdy.

Senior Lineman Jackson Phipps said he believes some folks might be overlooking the Mavericks based on the seniors that graduated last year, but some of their younger players are ready to step into those roles.

“I’m just really excited to see how some of these younger guys turn out. I think a lot of them will be pretty solid,” said Phipps. “I’m just looking forward to the future for them.”

One thing is for sure about the 2023 James Monroe football team, and that is the fact that Friday night home games in Lindside will be very well attended.

The team said the support they get from the entire Monroe County Community is a big part of what drives them to be great.

“We were watching film the other day and we saw on film throughout the playoffs how many people showed up, how many people were out supporting us,” said Phipps.

“Everybody in this county rallies around these kids, whether it is athletically or academically,” Coach Mustain told 59News. “I think it is a testament to the people of this county how they do that.”