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South Columbus (N.C.) Stallions

Same goals. Same expectations. Same game plan.

Nothing has changed at South Columbus (N.C.) despite the bevy of talent the program lost after advancing to last year's Class 2-A state championship game.

Coach Joey Price hasn't allowed his players to believe rebuilding is an option. At South Columbus, reloading is the name of the game.

``It's the same attitude,'' Price said. ``Our kids expect to do well. They've worked hard and had a great offseason in the weight room. They took it as a challenge to try and get back there again.''

The defense was most responsible for the success in 2007, but the offense, which returns five starters, will be forced to lead the way this season. Quarterback Justin Duncan, offensive lineman Pat Worley and tailback Rashawn Grate played considerable roles as juniors and are prepared for big seasons again.

``We've got an offensive line that's not as big but they have heart,'' Duncan said. ``We've got a couple of receivers that can catch.

``[Rashawn's] got great speed. You just have to watch him in practice. He's making everybody look silly. He's going to do the same thing during the season.''

Grate, who has scholarship offers from Western Carolina and Newberry, will be especially key to an offense that will try to keep its defense off the field as much as possible.

The defense returns only three starters, one defensive lineman, one defensive back and linebacker Jonathan Buffkin, who teamed with Coastal Carolina's Andrae Jacobs to form a lethal tandem last season. But there aren't many standouts left on the defense.

``It's like starting all over again almost,'' Price said. ``We lost a lot of good players. It's been a slow process of trying to build back. Offensively we can put a good team on the field. Defensively is where we are struggling.''