PLAIN CITY — One of the truest statements (and most worn-out clichés) in sports is, it's not how you start that matters most, it's how you finish.
Well, that certainly summarizes Fremont High's 2012 football fortunes.
The Silver Wolves, coming off an appearance in the 2011 state championship game, opened last season with six straight setbacks — their loss to East was later reversed when it was determined the Leopards had used four ineligible players and were forced to forfeit several games.
Then, just when it looked like a lost season, Fremont got things together in time to win two of its last three league games and, amazingly, not only qualified for the 5A state playoffs but then went on the road and won a first-round game against Region 2 champion Hunter.
However, in true "it's how you finish" fashion, the Silver Wolves were blasted out of postseason play by Bingham in a lopsided 38-0 quarterfinal loss that still stings.
"We got to the quarterfinals, but we were bad once we got there," Fremont coach Kory Bosgieter said. "We've got a bad taste in our mouth, we really do, because of the way we performed the last time out. It was not what we're all about in my opinion.
"Our last performance on the field was not good, so we've got to get that taste out of our mouths right now."
Which brings us to 2013 and the latest version of Fremont High football. This year's squad is young, with nearly 50 juniors in the program, and lacks varsity experience.
But Bosgieter likes what he sees and says the talent level, particularly in the underclassmen, should set up the Silver Wolves nicely for the next couple of years.
"Our junior class is big and it's a good group," he said. "We've got some talent, we really do, but we haven't got any experience. We had a lot of seniors last year, and we're very inexperienced this year.
"The frustrating thing for me is that we keep making a lot of the same mistakes, but that goes with inexperience. The sooner we get over those hurdles then the sooner we can be a better team. But that lack of experience requires patience within our program."
This year's team features many juniors who will either be starters or playing primary backup roles.
At quarterback, juniors Justin Shaw and Cameron Chugg and senior Braxton Wood will all see playing time, and even starting tight end Paxton Merrill could see some QB duty in the Silver Wolves' Wildcat package.
The team's top two running backs are junior Cole Bingham and senior John Phippen, while Chugg and senior Parker Preator will see duty at slotback, with senior Hyrum Packard, freshman Haze Hadley, senior Destry Call and junior Trevor Allen sharing time at the wide receiver spots.
At tight end, Merrill, a junior, and senior Aidan Arteaga will split time, and the offensive line will feature juniors Michael Porter and Coby Heseltine at center, senior Tyler Wilding, junior Austin Riley and sophomore Zach Clawson at guard, and senior Kelton Christensen, juniors Jake Pendergast and Nate Wadsworth, and senior Isiah White at the tackle spots.
Over on defense, the front four features junior tackles Wadsworth, Riley, Hunter Miller and Scott Nauta. The defensive ends include Arteaga, senior Kelton Christensen, and juniors Ryan Grange, Cutler Webster and Kevin Kilts.