Last season, the Jaguars were coming off a state runner-up championship run and lost a majority of the top players from that squad, so it was understandable that the Jaguars would have a bit of a drop-off in 2016. They finished with just two wins on the season, only one of which was a league win.

After that season of rebuilding, the Jaguars are hungry to get back to competing for a playoff spot in a tough District that includes Augusta and Maize South, both of which have made the playoffs several times the past few seasons. The rest of the Jaguars’ schedule is brutal, too. They face Andale, Buhler, Abilene and crosstown rival Andover.

“We will play a very good schedule in 2017, it is important that we gain confidence early in the season,” said head coach Tom Audley, who enters his 16th season with the program. “We will be playing a lot of young players and they need to adapt to the speed of Friday night quickly.”

A little more experience, as well as a healthy 2017 squad, should help the Jaguars be competitive again this year.

“We will be a faster team in 2016, as a results of a rash of injuries in 2016 we got a lot of young player experience last season,” Audley said. “We feel that we have a good group of skilled athletes. We have had a great summer in the weight room and good completion for playing time at multiple positions.”

The Jaguars returns a strong amount of younger players who have great potential to make a big leap this year as top-notch playmakers in the area. Xavier Bell is a 6-foot-2 sophomore wide receiver who will be tough to stop on the outside. Peyton Jensen is another solid option at wide receiver.

Reagan Jones is looking to make more of an impact as the team’s quarterback. He’ll have a beefy line in front of him that includes Isaac Rozerio (6-3, 220) at tackle and Kameron Shepard (6-0, 280) at guard. They should be able to open things up a little more for backs like Dante Rodd and Mitchell Allison to run through.

On defense, the Jaguars boast a senior-heavy lineup that includes Clark Schoonover, who enters a special season for the Jaguars.

“Clark Schoonover is one of our best returning player we expect him to make a lot of plays on defense,” Audley said. “He is a skilled offensive player and is also a great kicker who has a Division I leg. He will be our first four-year starter at ACHS in our 16 years at Andover Central.”

Seniors Austin Zellers and Hunter O’Connor will bring the heat on the defensive line. Straton Stamp will help lead the linebackers. Jack Stiner will join Schoonover as a safety in the backfield.