There are many challenges that come with being a Class 1A school.

There will be years when you have low number on the football roster, which forces many players to play both offense and defense.

The Covenant Christian Academy Lions are facing this situation as they prepare for the upcoming season.

With just 25 players, Lions coach Randy Boquet said they are doing the best they can to get the most out of them.

"We’re down numbers wise. Unfortunately for our kids that means a little more conditioning," Boquet said. "We have to be in better shape because we’re going to have more kids going both ways. That’s going to be a real challenge for us, especially earlier in the year with the heat in August, but hopefully our kids can condition hard and be ready to go.

The Lions return 14 starters (seven on offense and defense each). They will operate out of the Wing-T offense and 4-3 defense.

"We’re going to be old and we’re going to be young," Boquet said. "I know that’s kind of crazy. We’ve got a good core of 10 seniors who are veteran players and so far they’ve been exceptional as far as leadership. We’ve got a bunch of younger kids coming up, so hopefully that leadership can spread over to them and they could grow up pretty quick."

After losing a talented senior class last year, Boquet said he is also looking for new leaders to emerge.

"We lost a real talented bunch," Boquet said. "They were sensational, but every year, other kids step up. That’s what we have to get from this group right here. We have to have someone who will step up and make some plays for us."

Several key returning players include junior running back/defensive back Malachi Ayo, senior offensive guard/defensive lineman Bobby Bland, senior tight end/defensive end Zach Boquet and sophomore running back/linebacker Connor Matherne.

Ayo said the Lions have worked hard this offseason.

"People are doubting us because we’re short on numbers," Ayo said. "We don’t have as many players as we’ve had in the past, but I think with the group that we have, if we just play together and play as we practice, we’ll be fine. We just have to reload. Every year, that’s what we do. We just have to see where it takes us."

Zach Boquet, Coach Boquet’s son, said many of the players grew up playing together.

"I’m very excited for this season," Zach Boquet said. "We have a great chemistry. We’re all excited about the season. I think we’re all going to work hard for a common goal and have a great year."

Senior Blane Boudreaux will step in as starting quarterback for the Lions this year.

"You can expect good things," Boudreaux said. "It’s just a mindset. We’re going to come out and be tough. If we play Lion football, we’re going to be good."

One of the important offensive weapons in CCA’s backfield will be senior wingback Taite Aucoin, who said he is confident the Lions will have success this year.

"I think we got a great group of kids. We’ve got a lot of great chemistry around. We have guys who have played forever. I think we’re going to have a really good season."

Covenant Christian will play in a new District 8-1A this season with Vermilion Catholic, Central Catholic, Hanson Memorial, Centerville and Highland Baptist.

Boquet said it will present a new challenge but he believes the Lions are ready.

"I like our chances," Boquet said. "I think our kids are going to step up and be real competitive."