CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Players at Monticello know what the standard is for the Mustangs program, which is why last year's 2-8 season did not sit well.
"This year we're coming back with vengeance because we have the anger from last season," junior wide receiver Will Trent said, "We have that built up, it was motivation to come back this year strong."
"The record last year wasn't what Monticello has been known for in previous years," senior kicker Jack Culbreath said, "I know a lot of guys on the team have really been down about it."
Part of the Mustang's problems came down to inexperience, but a year later Coach Jeff Lloyd hopes those younger players can make the jump.
"We didn't have a lot of older kids come out, so we ended up playing a lot of sophomores last year," Lloyd said, "At one time we were starting seven of them. Now hopefully that pays dividends this year."
One player who benefited from the experience is now junior quarterback Malachi Fields, who accounted for 1,683 total yards and 22 total touchdowns.
"How to take the hits, how to read the field as a quarterback and if I don't see stuff going my way just tuck it and run," Fields said of what he learned after a year taking snaps.
"He's trying to do too much and I just want him to read the field and when he doesn't have what he wants to be an athlete," Lloyd said of Fields, "That's what has gotten him a division-I offer."
Fields will be surrounded by play makers like Will Trent and three running backs vying for carries, but Lloyd's focus will be on how his team fights this season.
"If we play as hard as we can and we get beat on Friday night by a better team, I can live with that," Lloyd said, "What I don't want is at times last year we are so overwhelmed we just quit competing."
Lead by a strong junior class this Monticello team hopes to right the ship this fall after their worst season since the program began in 1998.
"This year everyone's got the heart, everyone's willing to work," Culbreath said, "We all have it and we all want to make it better."
"We just don't want to lose like last year. We got a 2-8 record, we don't want that again," Fields said, "I know Coach Lloyd doesn't want that, so we just want to prove to him and ourselves that we can do it."