"It's amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit." So reads the T-shirts that Stonewall players were wearing at practice Tuesday morning.
The Raiders, two years removed from an 0-10 season, are not so much interested in grabbing glory as they are in squeezing out some wins. They are 16-44 the past six seasons after going 47-20 from 1992 to '97.
An encouraging start the first five games in 2003 -- two wins and three close losses to playoff teams -- fizzled. The team led in six games but won two.
The pieces seem to be in place for progress. Coach Loren Johnson enters his second season. The area's top rusher last year, Chris Garrett, is in top form and is receiving interest from Division I colleges. He has veteran linemen to spring him, among them team "ironman" champion Joe Mullinax. Quarterback Ricky Milborne enjoyed a quietly productive sophomore season. And the defense is expected to be better, thanks in part to promising linebackers Victor Green and Scott Beitzell.
Johnson said he expects to use as many aseight or nine players two ways on a regular, but not full-time, basis. He will be calling plays this season now that former offensive coordinator Joe Mangano is the head coach at Gar-Field.
"The kids have been very, very good as far as doing the little things," said Johnson, who took 49 players to camp at North Carolina State this summer. "The mental aspect of it is what scares me the most. When things get tough, how are they going to bounce back? That's what I'm concerned about. And the only way you can tell that is when you're in a game."