ORLAND, Calif. - Orland football is looking for its first winning season since 2018.
The Trojans are a junior-heavy team, but they're confident this is the year they get back to the playoffs.
"We're a different set of guys," Running Back Brayden Schumann said. "That's not us. We're special."
What makes this year's Orland team special? Head Coach Nick Velazquez says chemistry.
"This group for the most part has played from when they were 11 or 12," Coach Velazquez said. "They know each other. They told me they're just used to playing with each other. That's part of it. It's a tight-knit group."
Coach Velazquez also said this is the most athletic team since 2015 when they went 11-2.
"These kids love to hit," Coach Velazquez said. "They understand this is a violent game. They like to get after it. It's an exciting group to coach."
"It's a smash-mouth football team," Schumann said. "We're gonna run it up the middle. Beat teams up. Play power football."
The first chance to prove that is in a scrimmage against Chico High on Friday.
"It'll tell us a lot more in terms of o-line and d-line," Coach Velazquez said. "Going up against a bigger school with bigger kids."
The offensive line isn't as experienced but Coach Velazquez is confident in their ability to protect quarterback Grant Foster. The junior players are more than just quarterbacks. He's also a kick returner and defensive back.
"We've had some pretty good cornerbacks over the years," Coach Velazquez said. "He may end up being the best one when he's done."
The Trojans have a strong defense too.
"Our secondary is second to none," Schumann said.
"We got some big linemen," Defensive End Braden Ovitz said. "Pretty hard to move. Our two defensive ends are pretty quick. Good linebackers that can make reads. Our safeties love to hit hard."
Orland's first regular-season game is Aug. 27 against Pierce.