Good Counsel High senior offensive lineman Sam Madaras, center, passes by a row of coaches as he collects stickers for his helmet before the season opener against Gilman. The Falcons lost, 20-14. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Good Counsel football players streamed into Coach Bob Milloy’s office after practice Wednesday. Coaches, armed with sheets covered with different decals, sat along the wall.

The players, maneuvering one by one around cardboard boxes of equipment, stopped in front of each coach to have a sticker placed on his helmet. Two days before opening kickoff — a 20-14 loss to Baltimore power Gilman — it was the last step to completing the uniform and one step closer to the start of the season.

For the players at Good Counsel, looking to win its fifth consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title, there really is no offseason.

Senior offensive lineman Sam Madaras lifted weights and attended workouts all summer. He said he has followed the routine since his freshman year; when the season ends, “we start lifting in January, and we don’t stop.”

Weight training was followed by lineman school in the spring — chalk talk, film sessions and walk-throughs. Lineman school was followed by summer practices. Each season rolled into the next until late every August, when Madaras would gather his pads from the gym and know the games were about to begin.

As he enters his fourth season, Madaras said there’s still excitement as he collects the stickers on his helmet. After months of hard work off the field, though, he said, “It’s more just that I’m ready for the season.”

As he went through the line, Madaras said he was thinking about how his final season of high school football would be different.

But not in ways you might expect. Rather than look at this season as his last, Madaras said he is trying to approach it as a fresh start: “I don’t like to think of it as an end but a beginning.”

His goal is to finish the year strong, maybe with a major college scholarship offer. He knows that will come only with the kind of hard work he feels he won’t put in if he treats this season as his last.

“Because I’m not sure where I want to go to college yet, but I just want to make it a ‘get better’ experience and not bring myself down because it’s senior year,” he said. “I want to think of it as the beginning of something new.”

However, there are some things Madaras doesn’t want to change: He plans to lift weights with his teammates in January.

8for More high school coverage: Go to allmetsports.com. E-mail ideas for More Than a Game to toni.sandys@washpost.com

Good Counsel football players streamed into Coach Bob Milloy’s office after practice on Wednesday. Coaches, armed with sheets covered with different decals, sat along the wall.

The players, maneuvering one by one around cardboard boxes of equipment, stopped in front of each coach to have a sticker placed on his helmet. Two days before opening kickoff — a 20-14 loss to Baltimore power Gilman — it was the last step to completing the uniform and one step closer to the start of the season.

For the players at Good Counsel, looking to win its fifth consecutive Washingotn Catholic Athletic Conference title, there really is no offseason.

Senior offensive lineman Sam Madaras lifted weights and attended workouts all summer. He said he has followed the routine since his freshman year, when the season ended but “we start lifting in January and we don’t stop.”

Weight training was followed by lineman school in the spring — chalk talk, film sessions and walk-throughs. Lineman school was followed by summer practices. Each season rolled into the next until late every August, when Madaras would gather his pads from the gym and know the games were about to begin.

As he enters his fourth season, Madaras said there’s still excitement as he collects the stickers on his helmet. After months of hard work off the field, though, he said, “It’s more just that I’m ready for the season.”

As he went through the line, Madaras said he was thinking about how his final season of high school football would be different.

But not in ways you might expect. Rather than look at this season as his last one, Madaras said he is trying to approach it as a fresh start: “I don’t like to think of it as an end, but a beginning.”

His goal is to finish the year strong, maybe with a Division I scholarship offer. He knows that will only come with the kind of hard work he feels he won’t put in if he treats this season as his last.

“Because I’m not sure where I want to go to college yet, but I just want to make it a ‘get better’ experience and not bring myself down because it’s senior year,” he said. “I want to think of it as the beginning of something new.”

However, there are some things Madaras doesn’t want to change: He plans to lift weights with his teammates next January.

8for More high school coverage: Go to allmetsports.com. Email ideas for More Than a Game to toni.sandys@washpost.com