SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – “OCS is my background because I never want to feel the pain of losing the way we did, and so it’s motivating everybody to get better, to want it more,” said junior safety Hutch Grace.

That pain stems from a three-point overtime loss to Ouachita Christian in last year’s semifinals, ending Calvary’s quest for back-to-back state championships. The quarterback who led them both years is now at Louisiana Tech, meaning it’s time for a new signal caller. 

“We’ve got a couple of kids,” said Head Coach Rodney Guin. “Abram Wardell and Bryce Carpenter who were with us last year. They’re both capable. It’s been a battle all summer long and it will continue to be.” 

But quarterback isn’t the only position where we’ll see some new faces.

“We didn’t lose many starters, but the ones we did were key,” said Guin. “We’re trying to get those young guys ready to play.”

“People are having to step up,” said Grace. “I think that the heart behind it and not as much selfishness going into it makes our team better this year.”

Although Landry Lyddy won’t be the one under center this season, his key targets will be back in the green and gold. That list includes wide receivers Aubrey Hermes, Kolby Thomas as well as Jay Simon.

Outside the roster changes, another big difference for the Cavs this season will be moving up from 1A to 2A.

“I’ve been at the 5A level and the 4A level, and the 2A is a different game than 1A,” said Coach Guin. “People who have been there, they understand that. Our district is a lot tougher than the one we played in.”

However, the plan is going to stay the same.

“We still come in and just act like we’re big dogs, because we are,” said junior Jimmy Wright. “We’re just mean.”

And how are the Cavs getting ready for the jump in classification?

“The schedule,” said junior Detravon Davis. “I love competition.”

“We’ve got Logansport, again in the state championship game, and then Byrd and Shreve,” said Guin. “No schools our size play that competition, and it’s about getting us ready to play in November. Our kids love the challenge and it’s going to be fun.”

New faces, playing in a new district, creates a new challenge, but…

“Our team’s mentality is the same as every year,” said Wright. “We’re going to go try and win state.”

“Go win, that’s it,” added Davis. “It’s just go win or go home.”

Calvary opens up the year against Logansport on September 3.