The senior class’s goal was to transform the program over its four years, said Smoot, who threw for 349 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a 9-yard score in the title game. The Wildcats also won the Greater Western Ohio Conference championship three of the last four years and made four straight playoff appearances.
“We wanted to make a change from the previous years, not really having winning seasons and not making the playoffs and stuff like that,” Smoot said. “So we just came in, we just grinded and stuck together our whole four years. We just wanted to change the program to be able to make runs every year and make a run (for the state title). We got to the state, but we just couldn’t finish the job. It was everything that we imagined that we were going to come to high school and do.”
The senior class helped bring a work ethic this offseason that the program hadn’t seen in previous years, Douglass said.
“They were the best group that I’ve had since I’ve been here in Springfield as far as working and believing in each other,” he said. “I think they set the bar pretty high for the next group that’s coming up.”
The Wildcats will return six starters on both sides of the ball, including junior receivers Anthony Brown, Shawn Thigpen and Daylen Bradley, as well sophomore running back Jayvin Norman, junior running back Ramon Browder and freshman center Braydon Tayloe. Defensively, the Wildcats return three linebackers in junior Jaivian Norman, sophomore Kevin Fair and junior Tawfiq Jabbar as well as freshman defensive end Jackson Heims, junior safety Tyron Barnes and sophomore cornerback Aaron Scott.
“We’ll miss these (seniors),” Douglass said. “We’ve got a good group coming back. (Smoot) is the hard part to replace on offense because he did so many things for us, but that’s the challenge you want to have, to keep rebuilding and keep reloading. We’ll be fine. We’ll be back.”