PARADISE, Ind. (WEHT) – Castle High School Football was one of the best teams in the area last season, and was expected to make quite the run in the playoffs. But hearts were broken for the Knights when they fell to Bloomington South in the first round of the playoffs. A team that ended 7-2 in the regular season and outscored their opponents 302-124 – they fell short by just two points at the end of their season and it was a shocker to the team.

“A first round exit from the sectional is not really acceptable at Castle High School,” said head coach Doug Hurt. “We’re used to making runs and playing deep into the playoffs and so particularly with a team that we thought was one of our better teams and could really make a run, it was a hard way to go.”

But, the loss added fuel to the fire to come out better this season. The Knights were out bright and early beating the heat at summer practice, applying all the new tricks they have up their sleeves, making changes, and grinding until it’s just second nature to come out on top.

“I think you got to focus on what we do well, what we don’t do well, areas where we can upgrade personnel, things we just need to work on and do a better job of coaching,” added Hurt. “Looking at ways all offseason that we can make corrections and make improvements… and do a better job with our offseason program, all in the spirit of constantly getting better.”

“At practice, we’re going more intense lifts,” said senior tight end Weston Aigner. “We got a new strength coach, Coach Williams, so we’re really excited to have him and we’ve definitely gotten better with him. He’s just intensified our lists all around and made us as a program better.”

Coach Hurt said one of the biggest things they need to focus on is just how the team works together as a whole.

“I’m excited about the character of our squad,” said Hurt. “I think we’ve got some great kids, we’ve got great leadership, a bunch of hard workers, kids that buy into what we’re doing. And that’s half the battle. Obviously we have things we need to improve on, that’s why we practice and hopefully we’ll be practicing in late October and November. We continue to just grind and hone in and sandpaper edges and things like that and constantly improve.”

And Aigner says no matter what, they’re just staying positive.

“The mindset is just not being complacent,” added aigner. “If we get a couple wins under our belt, just keep getting after it, keep getting better. We’ve got possibly not the biggest, not the strongest, not the fastest guys, but guys that just really want to get after it every play.”

Castle kicks off their season on Friday, August 19 at Evansville North.