VERNON, Fla. (WMBB) – The Vernon football team is putting the 2021 season behind them and aiming to get back to their winning ways under new head coach, Trey Pike.

The Yellow Jackets graduated nearly 20 seniors in 2020, leaving one of the youngest high school teams in Florida last year.

“Last year we didn’t hardly have any seniors,” Vernon Head Football Coach Trey Pike said. “I think maybe one, two, we had two seniors, the rest of the kids that played were pretty much freshman so a lot of those guys went through the war and a lot of those guys got beat up last year and I think now they’re ready to start beating on everybody else.”

Vernon’s 2021 campaign was far from what the program is used to, but some players have already seen a vast improvement in the first week of the fall season.

“Last year, we weren’t really focused last year and everyone wasn’t on the same page,” Vernon junior wide receiver Ryan Scott said. “I feel like this year we’re more on the same page this year and we communicate a lot more than last year.”

“I feel like we’re a whole lot more dedicated this year, and the boys definitely want to work,” senior linebacker Ryan Hagan said. It’s a lot easier being a leader with everyone being as dedicated as they are.”

Instead of forgetting about the 2021 season, the Yellow Jackets are hoping to use it as motivation.

Coach Pike said they have a lot of work to do in order to be back in playoff contention, but that it is completely attainable.

“It’s just hard work and effort,” Pike said. “Hard work, dedication, and effort. There are 23 kids out here and I go to war with them for the next three years, I would. Because they’ve got what it takes, they just have to keep on believing and I think we can get back there pretty easily.”

Vernon opens their season on the road as they visit Liberty County on Friday, August 26.