Ellender High football coach David McCormick wants to make one thing clear heading into the 2019 season: last year’s record was completely unacceptable.

The Patriots are coming off a 2-8 season, which featured a 1-5 district mark.

"We are not satisfied with what happened last year," McCormick said. "We played some close games and lost in the end because of our youth. But those guys got some experience and some of them will be strengths for us this year. We are looking forward to kicking it off."

Ellender said the Patriots have right around 60 players but that the team has the right attitude as a whole.

"They are giving us everything they have at every practice," McCormick said. "They are flying and buzzing to the ball. They are hustling from drill to drill. We are small in numbers, but these guys are going to run through a brick wall for us. I think we are a little ahead of where we expected we would be right now."

On offense, McCormick said the Patriots are breaking in junior quarterback Patrick Perna.

"He is picking up the system really quick and we have some really good wide receivers," McCormick said. "Our offensive line is coming together too. They have that brotherhood mentality."

Junior wide receiver Hunter Parfait returns as one of the top offensive weapons for Ellender.

"We have a really good group of receivers," Parfait said. "As a team we know we don’t have a lot of numbers so we need to work on conditioning and staying in shape. We know we have to fight through anything we go through."

Junior tackle Bradley Martin is expected to be one of the leaders on the offensive line.

"We have a lot of freshman on the team, so it has been a little rough, but it is all about teaching them and getting them better," Martin said. "Our offensive line is all veterans and we know what to do. We worked a lot on discipline this year. In the end, that is what wins games."

On defense, McCormick said the Patriots are a bit young on the back end but that he will look to his front seven to apply pressure on the quarterback to counteract that.

Ellender senior Linebacker Jarred Whitrack returns as the defensive leader for the Patriots.

"We know we need to go 100 percent all the time," Whitrack said. "Stay tuned because we are going all in for it."

Patriots senior wide receiver/defensive back Kameron Adkins is expected to see plenty of time on both sides of the ball for Ellender.

"We have a strong defense, but we have a young group," Adkins said. "Everyone is just going to have to step up and make plays. We have to finish games strong, play good third-down defense and we have to score in the red zone. If we get down, we just can’t put our heads down."

This Ellender team will be the first group of Patriots to play its home games on the new turf field at South Terrebonne Memorial Stadium in Bourg.

"I never thought I would see it in my coaching career," McCormick said. "To be the first Ellender team to be able to play on it has the kids really excited."

McCormick said School Board officials said the Patriots would be allowed to practice on the turf when they need to, but also said there were still some logistical issues to work out, like how to get practice equipment to Bourg and back and how to secure buses for the players right after school.