There is a palpable confidence exuding from the Milton Eagles as they go into 2014 following back-to-back winning seasons.
The message from Milton is clear: losing is not an option. This has quickly become the mindset of the Eagle's since Howie DeCristofaro took over the head coaching job three years ago.
"We want to say that we're a winning football program and that we're going to get better," Milton defensive coordinator Justin Bacile said, speaking on behalf of DeCristofaro who was unavailable.
Milton prides itself in its Olympic-style weight lifting program brought to the school by strength and condition coach Mike Scott.
Scott trained at the Olympic weight lifting facility in the 1970s, and brought his philosophy to the Eagles.
"We feel that gives us a really big advantage at the beginning of the season for prevention of injuries and other things," Bacile said on the strength program.
Last year, Milton had its best season since 2008 going 8-3, but it still was not enough to end Milton's playoff curse.
Milton has gone 60 years since winning its last playoff game, and it has not won a region title since 1952.
However, Bacile said there is something special brewing at Milton this year with a team that only lost four starters.
Milton returns 18 starters, including outside linebacker Quarte Sapp and offensive guard Nick Wilson. Sapp and Wilson are the two most heavily recruited members of the Eagles.
Sapp and Wilson received a combined 27 college offers, according to 247sports. Wilson committed to Stanford, and Sapp is undecided.
Bacile said Nick Steinhaus plays with attitude and has worked in the off-season to get substantially stronger. In his last workout, he benched an impressive 400 pounds and squat 635 pounds.
"Nick is the guy who I think is going to explode about halfway through the year," Bacile said.
Austin Mcleod returns as quarterback for the Eagles, and Milton's coaching staff is working to make him a "weapon."
"This year, he's much more educated, looks great in all of our off-season," Bacile said on Plow. "He's got such a grasp of the offense."
The Eagles start their season in difficult fashion facing rival Alpharetta High School followed by Norcross, the AAAAAA State Champions.
Bacile said his team is confident and excited about facing challenging opponents early.
"Coach (DeCristofaro) scheduled it that way on purpose," he said. We want to try and go up against the best. We think we have a good program. Concern isn't really there.
Check out the rest of the Eagles' schedule:
@ Alpharetta (Alpharetta, GA)
Norcross (Norcross, GA)
Roswell (Alpharetta, GA)
Lassiter (Marietta, GA)
@ Etowah (Woodstock, GA)
Cherokee (Canton, GA)
@ Walton (Marietta, GA)
@ Woodstock (Woodstock, GA)
Pope (Marietta, GA)
@ Wheeler (Marietta, GA)