JUNCTION CITY (KSNT) – Junction City High School football earned an 8-2 record last year – with a loss to Manhattan and a loss in the playoffs. They were led by eight seniors that went on to play at the next level.

“Definitely role models, definitely guys to look up to, that will push you harder,” tight end Logan Nabus said. “But I feel like we got a couple guys this year that can go on to the next level that train as hard.”

Even while trying to replace a ton of talent, this is a confident group.

“There will be knew faces in those positions but the expectations remain the same,” head coach Randall Zimmerman said.

A big source of that confidence is the return of T.J. Jones, an explosive runner back from an injury suffered in the team’s sixth game of the season.

“Fourth quarter, I think there was like 5:35 seconds left, I’ll never forget. I was pulled down on the 30-yard-line, tried to stand back up and my ankle was out of place. I’m back and better, just can’t wait for the first game September 2.”

T.J. isn’t the only one that’s happy that he’s back on the field.

“T.J.’s a great kid, great example that bounced back from it,” Zimmerman said. “He worked really hard all summer long, and he’s reaping the benefits of it.”

The Blue Jays are also getting defensive help from coach Zimmerman’s son Ty, who played defensive back at K-State.

“It’s an honor,” offensive lineman Logan Lindsley said, “He’s such a well-known guy, and he just knows everything about the game, and it’s great to learn from him.”

Jones has high expectations for himself and the team.

“I think last year we did a pretty good job, but this year we’re going to be way better because our chemistry is through the roof right now, so I think we’ll be pretty good,” Jones said. “We’re going all the way, we didn’t come to lose this year.”