Stewarts Creek's growing pains have been many and well documented the past two seasons on the football field.
The Red Hawks won only one game in their first year of existence in 2013 and managed just victories last season. However, the 2014 season resulted in a lot of progress being made despite the won-loss record.
"I think we created some momentum last year," said third-year coach David Martin. "We were ahead in seven games last year at some point, but we just couldn't sustain it.
"They got momentum from that going into the spring and it's carried overall into the fall, and hopefully we'll be able to compete. We've got quite a few seniors that have played the last two years, and I think they're ready to take the next step."
Stewarts Creek will operate out of the wing-T offense, and much will be expected out of senior quarterback Chris Dye, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder who has a lot of game experience.
"I feel really good where we are at quarterback," Martin said. "He can run and throw, and he makes good decisions. He needs to take care of the ball better, and he's still learning what his limitations are. I think he can have a great year."
The Red Hawks have a solid backfield in juniors Zach Long, Keshawn Walker and Tre Bailliez. Senior wideouts TJ York and Cynterius Lyons are also capable targets, as is senior tight end Gary Lance.
"We've showed signs of having an effective running game," Martin said. "We've got to be more consistent and we still have breakdowns here and there, but we can get that squared away. I think we'll be pretty good up front and run the football."
Defensively, Stewarts Creek will run a 3-4 scheme. Juniors Marcus Clemons and Lupe Casanova and senior Ricky Brown will start up front. The linebackers are athletic, led by junior Chance Nicoll and seniors Aaron Williams, Darius Burns and Malik Reynolds.
The secondary should be a strength, led by Lyons, Clay Griggs and Balliez.
"Our defense should be a lot better," Martin said. "We've got some pretty smart kids and some good athletes on that side of the ball."
The biggest key for the Red Hawks will be developing leadership and learning how to put opponents away if they're in position to do so.
"Right now leadership is an unknown and how we will evolve leadership wise," Martin. "I'd say at this point we're on track to where we want to be. If everything doesn't come together, though, we won't make the progress we want to. We have to trust each other. We haven't had senior leadership in the past."
Stewarts Creek has moved down to Class 5A and will compete in its new region with Columbia, Franklin County, Independence, La Vergne, Lincoln County, Shelbyville and Summit.
"I think that can help us, but it's still good football," Martin said. "There are some good teams on in our region this year."
Despite winning three games in the program's first two years, Martin believes the Red Hawks can make a lot more noise in 2015. A lot of things will factor in as to whether Stewarts Creek can finish at or above .500. The move to 5A will help, but it will likely take a special season for the Red Hawks to make the playoffs.
QB: Chris Dye, Sr.
FB: Zack Long, Jr.
TB: Tre Bailliez, Jr.; Keshawn Walker, Jr.
WR: TJ York, Sr.; Cynterius Lyons, Sr.
TE: Gary Lance, Sr.
OL: Aaron Foster, Jr.; Dayton Hoefer, Sr.; Gavin White, Jr.; Eli Thornburg, Sr.; Tyler Barber, Sr.; Brandon Readus, Jr.
DL: Marcus Clemons, Jr.; Lupe Casanova, Jr.; Ricky Brown, Sr.
LB: Chance Nicoll, Jr.; Aaron Williams, Sr.; Darius Burns, Sr.; Malik Reynolds, Sr.
DB: Cynterius Lyons, Sr.; Clay Griggs, Sr.; Trey Bailliez, Jr.; TJ Mangrum, So.; Lee Vaughn, Jr., Jordan Ralph, Jr.
P: Cane Davis, So.
K: Jonathan Sneed, Sr.