The Newton High football program is already hard at work trying to return to a respectable place in the annals of Newton County athletic tradition.
Though the Rams have not achieved state recognition for years, the program used to be atop the charts in the area.
But the Rams have fallen from grace due to the emergence of Eastside High and the baby school, third-year Alcovy High.
The outlook remains uncertain for Newton, especially since it is still in the rebuilding process under second-year coach Nick Collins.
"We're still trying to figure it out," Collins said. "We're going to be very young again, but we're going to be athletic. I think the effects of (Alcovy) opening two years ago are finally hitting us."
That's a proven theory, particularly with the lack of player participation. In fact, the numbers aren't what they used to be several years ago.
Offensively, Newton has three returning starters, and four returning on defense. Still, Collins has not grasped what kind of team he will field come kickoff in August.
The Rams have plenty of holes to fill, especially since they weren't that strong up front a year ago.
"We've got a lot of work to do up front," Collins admitted, who will have one senior, one junior and three sophomores on the line.
In the backfield, Newton will start three seniors on the offensive side of the ball. Sophomores Tyree Williams and Kenny Patrick are currently battling for the quarterback position.
Two of the three running backs are sophomores; however, senior Quentin Pooler is the designated workhorse.
"We're trying to do some things that will put us in a position to be successful because we don't have as big or athletic kids as other schools have," Collins said. "So, we've got to be a little smarter in the way we approach things."
Collins believes his strength lies at the running back position because of the depth.
Meanwhile, the defensive backfield features two sophomores and a junior in a 4-3 defense, while the offense will remain in the spread like last season.
Regarding special teams, Collins is uncertain who will be kicking. Matt Veal returns in a battle with Torian Hunt, Aaron Reynolds and Jamal Hunt.
Undoubtedly, Newton wants to come out of the gates strong. Now that Collins has nearly everyone on the same page, the Rams should be a contender once again.