Following Elijah Sindelar's commitment to Purdue in February, the spotlight has moved from the star quarterback and his college decision, onto the team around him and its state aspirations.
Caldwell County will head into the season next week on the short list of favorites to win Class 2A, following its 12-1 season from a year ago and a state championship runner-up campaign the previous year.
Sindelar, one of the top picks to win the Kentucky Mr. Football award, said it's a big relief he doesn't have to worry about recruitment anymore.
"Now I don't have that chip on my shoulder. Now I can just go out there and have fun with my boys," he said.
With just over a week until the first regular season game, Caldwell coach David Barnes said the Tigers are still working on the fundamentals, as well as conditioning since they plan to have more two-way guys this season.
"We preach every day doing the little things right, especially in our offense," he said. "If you do the little things right then good things happen."
Good things did happen for the Tigers last year, as they took an undefeated record into the postseason before falling to Murray in the third round.
Sindelar said there is a lot of determination with the team and its 18 seniors to rebound off last year's disappointment and to get back to the state championship.
"Our season was cut short last year and we didn't like that," the quarterback said. "We are moving in the right direction to get where we want to be."
Caldwell will scrimmage Butler County on Friday, looking to figure out position battles at kicker and on the offensive line.
Graduating three offensive linemen last year but returning the bulk of Caldwell's skill players, Barnes said it's imperative for players to step up on the line to protect Sindelar and running back Jaylen Boyd.
With 18 seniors comes leadership, and Barnes said that has translated to good practices.
"We don't want them getting the attitude of being complacent," he said. "With this group of seniors we should have good practices every day, and we have the last three days."
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