BOONVILLE, In. (WEHT) — Less than 48 hours before teams from across Indiana begin their football seasons and the Boonville Pioneers say they have been waiting for this moment.

After not finishing last season the way they had hoped, Boonville head coach Darin Ward says they worked to improve especially on defense.

With 18 seniors and 22 juniors on the team coach Ward is hoping the veteran leadership will pay dividends in the season starting with senior quarterback Clay Conner.

“He gives us that potential to score every time he touches it,” coach ward said. “Whether he facilitates it someone else or he just creates in his own way. We’d like to think we’ve got some pretty good offensive weapons behind him with senior Reece Wilder in the backfield Marques Ballard, a good speed guy on the outside. Cooper Aigner that’s played a lot of snaps.”

Conner says he doesn’t feel the pressure of being the quarterback and is focused on being a great leader for this team.

“Show these guys what we have to do on Friday’s to win,” Connor explained. “You have to be ready to go after it in practice. You have to be showing up on time. You can’t be missing workouts things like that. Once you kind of build that into these guys and they buy into what you’re preaching and yelling at practice and getting on to them and making them better, they’ll buy into it and throughout the year they’ll slowly start to improve.”

To help prepare the team for the season, the pioneers took on a few local teams in scrimmages to
scale where the team is at this point.

“It really showed where we were weak and where we needed to help prepare ourselves for the season and with the north scrimmage we had last Friday, it really showed where we improved,” senior Clark Monks said.

To have the season they would like to have, coach Ward says everyone has to trust in each other.

“Just having the mindset of believing in ourselves and believing in our teammates. Understanding situations a little bit better but just believing in each other,” coach Ward explained.

With the seniors heading into their last year they say they are repeating the coaches words in the locker room.

“I think being able to trust each other just gives more focus on your own role,” Conner said. “You don’t have to worry about someone else next to you knowing they’re going to be in the right spot. I can be ready to throw a route. Throw a 10 yard out or something and know he’s going to be there for the ball.”

Monk who plays offensive line and linebacker says he knows the freshmen and sophomores are looking at the upperclassmen for guidance and they have to lead by example even when coaches aren’t around.

“As a freshman, sophomore they’re looking for just someone to look up to on the team and there’s just a lot of people who fit that,” Monks explained.

The Boonville Pioneers open the season on Friday night against Paoli.