Junction City was the odd team out of last year's postseason from a stacked district 5 in Class 6A.
The Blue Jays finished (6-3 overall, 2-1 district) and were left out of the playoffs due to a points tiebreaker, allowing Topeka High and Manhattan to make the postseason.
"We just need to get started off quick and be very, very disciplined, and do the little things we've been learning the first three weeks," Junction City head coach Randall Zimmerman said. "Play hard and give ourselves a chance."
Last year, Junction City won a one-point thriller over Hays to begin the season and bookended 2012 with a win over rival Manhattan in the season finale, which was also by one point.
"The past couple years our offense has just kind of sat back a couple games and not really got it going, so our hope is to just get things moving in the right direction quickly and just get a jump on it," Junction City senior offensive lineman Jeffery Clark said.
The Blue Jays return 32 letterwinners that expect to compete.
"We just need to win every week at practice," Junction City senior tight end Semaj Johnson said. "That's where it starts, at Friday night's game, to get to that point. That way we don't have to worry about finishing 6-3 or 7-2 or something like that, just finish all the way to the playoffs."
Junction City travels to Hays in the season opener on Friday.
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