As good as a 10-2 season is for most programs, it can still be a disappointment at Carvers Bay.
That's the level of expectation that now envelops the Bears.
After three consecutive appearances in the Class A Division I state championship game, it was a letdown last year for the Bears when they were knocked from the playoffs in the second round by Hemingway in overtime.
"Here, some people feel the bar is pretty high for 1-A so it gets pretty tough. [Winning] is kind of expected of you," said coach Nate Thompson, who has led the Bears to state titles in 2002 and 2006. ". . . When you're trying to get to state it's hard work, and there's a little bit of luck involved, too. I don't care how strong and powerful you are, you have to have a little bit of luck, too."
Carvers Bay seems to be sufficiently reloaded to contend for a region and possibly state title this season with a lot of experience returning from last year's team that lost only to a talented Hemingway team - 7-6 in the regular season in 13-6 in overtime in the playoffs.
The Bears won't have the huge linemen they've had in past years, but have four returning starters on both the offensive and defensive lines, and have senior quarterback Desmond Grate, and senior running backs Tevin Richard, Tyquell Goss and Quae'Shawn Brockington to work behind them.
"We're not as big as we've been in the past, but hopefully experience will take over," Thompson said. "These guys are a little bit more slimmer and trimmer, but they move faster."
Part of the lack of size is the absence of a Geathers family member on the team for the first time in many years. Running back Clayton Geathers moved on to Central Florida this year, Kwame Geathers is a redshirt freshman lineman at Georgia and two other Geathers linemen are in the NFL.
"We ran out of Geathers. They're gone," Thompson said. "That's a great family. That family helped put us on the map. There are some more coming but they're not on the horizon."
With or without a Geathers, the Bears will be expected to win a lot this season, and likely will. "The people here rally behind football," Thompson said. "They love it, and the kids here take pride in the program and in doing their best, and that really shows through."