NORWICH (WBNG) -- The Norwich football team is ready to set a new tone this season.
"I told our kids on Monday this is like Christmas morning for me," said head coach Mike Chrystie. "We're looking to build as a program and take that next step."
Last season, Norwich's season ended in the Section IV semifinals. This season they're coming in with a younger team and have to replace nine starters on each side of the ball.
Chrystie said he's relying on his seniors to teach the Norwich brotherhood to their younger teammates.
"It starts with leadership, continuing the culture that we've been building here," Chrystie said.
One of the seniors stepping up as a leader this season is Griffin Mills, who is ready for his second year at starting quarterback.
"I'm honored to know that they look up to me," said Mills. "They choose not to listen to me, but they follow me to know that I lead by example to them."
"He's really the engine to our offense," said Chrystie. "Our offense is really going to go with how Griff takes us, He accepts that responsibility."
Chrystie said another senior stepping up is center Joey Marvin.
Marvin said many seniors from last season told him that he needed to step up and he took that to heart.
"I've been trying to get them in the weight room and working out everyday," said Marvin. "I'm just trying to work as a unit and help our backs and quarterbacks stay safe."
"He organized a lot of linemen stuff this offseason," said Chrystie. "He's really become a vocal leader for us and somebody that not only the linemen but our team can turn to as a leader as well."
Even though they aren't playing for titles this season, Mills and Marvin said it's just as important they play their hardest for themselves and their teammates.
"It's still special to be able to be out here," said Mills.
"I'm just hoping we all work together and have fun this year," said Marvin.
"I think once we come together as a team and the younger kids see that then that's when we'll really start to take off," Chryiste said.
Norwich opens the season traveling to Windsor on March 19 at 5 p.m.