MADISON, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Entering year three in Madison County, Larry Helmick has seen gains on the field and numbers triple for his alma mater.

"I'm really happy for these guys, a lot of these guys, our core nucleus, started when I started two years ago," Helmick said, "Started with 24 kids, we have right at 75 right now in the program and almost all 24 that weren't older kids are back."

As a first year coach in 2020 this summer was Helmick's first unrestricted offseason between weight lifting and 7-on-7 competition at Monticello.

"It's been insane because when I first started everyone was definitely smaller and looking at everyone now definitely packed on a little bit of muscle," senior linebacker Shawn Curtis said.

"I really just feel like the more I improve, the more this team has really rallied around and we've had great running backs step up," senior quarterback Wade Fox said, "So I just think the more work we put in in the offseason just the better we get."

Madison took massive strides last season snapping a seven game losing streak to rivals William Monroe and making the playoffs for the first time since 2016, falling in the first round to Central (Woodstock).

"Created a lot of excitement," Helmick said, "We want to get back there and now that they have a taste of it, that's their expectations and our expectations is to be back."

"Seeing how we improved and how many guys came back, I mean we went from 0-6 and losing by a lot of points to being in close games, winning games, getting in the playoffs," Fox said, "It's amazing seeing the growth we made."

The Mountaineers return an experienced roster, led by four-year starting quarterback Wade Fox, hoping for an even better encore.

"I think we have an even better season," Fox said, "We got a lot of returners on defense, lot of returners on offense, new faces from JV, new faces to the football squad in general."

"It's driving us a lot," Curtis said, "We've definitely grown as a team since last year and all the years previous and we're just trying to have some fun."