DAYVILLE - On paper, Monument-Dayville-Mitchell head football coach Skip Inscore had what appeared to be a highly competitive team before preseason practice sessions for the 2002 season began.
In 2001, the Tigers finished in second place in the TriCo League with wins over Spray and Burnt River, and advanced to the opening round of the state 1A playoffs where they were defeated 67-14 by Powder Valley to finish with a 2-5 overall record.
The Tigers had eight players returning to the lineup who were named either first, second or honorable mention all-TriCo League performers last season along with several others who were forced to sit out part of the 2001 season due to injuries.
However, for one reason or another, a number of former team members opted not to play football this season and Inscore, in his 21st year at the helm, will be forced to put together a team made up of mostly inexperienced players surrounded by a few veterans.
"I think by the time the season starts we will have about 20 players on the roster, but we'll be all right," Inscore said.
Senior Travis Moore is one of the experienced players Inscore will be building the Tigers' line around.
Last season, Moore was named a first-team all-star at defensive guard and was a second-team selection on offense.
Also starting on the offensive line will be senior Dustin Jewell, who was named a second-team offensive all-star at end in 2001.
Junior Nathaniel Ashley also returns on offense. Last year, he was selected an honorable mention player at quarterback.
On defense sophomore Carl Peterson, a second-team all-star linebacker, is one of the returning players, along with senior Nolan Jones who was a second-team all-star at safety during his junior year.
Other returning players include juniors Brodie Hannibal and Doni Duncan who both saw a lot of playing time last season, along with sophomores Mani Martin, who was a backup defensive back in 2001, and sophomore Nigel Elsea from Mitchell.
"This is going to be a fun year," Inscore said. "We don't have a great deal of talent, but the kids have been working hard at our practice sessions and they are a real pleasure to work with."
New faces on the roster this season include Mitchell sophomores James Kim and Jason Mars who have good size and should be battling for starting positions on offensive and defensive the lines, and junior running back Eric Lofton.
Senior Dane Smith is returning to the team after not playing since his sophomore year.
"We have a good smattering of kids from all three schools and they all have great attitudes," Inscore said. "We are going to be learning as a team all year long how the game is played, and I can guarantee we'll have good sportsmanship. Our success this year is not going to be measured by wins and losses, but by the kids' attitudes and how they learn to play the game."
Monument-Dayville-Mitchell opens the season on Friday, Sept. 6, hosting Arlington. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Dayville.