SHELBYVILLE, Mo. -- Last season was a historic one for the North Shelby football program.
In the Raiders first season in eight-man football, they had their first season with multiple victories since winning three games in 2009. North Shelby won its first district game since 2008 on the way to a 5-6 season.
"I think it completely validates the decision," North Shelby coach Seth Bass said. "I was obvious last year it was a decision that needed to be made. To pull the trigger on that was the best thing for us, and anytime you can give a program hope you can spark and ignite a lot of things."
That means North Shelby is wanting to go further this season.
"They want to do that again and take the next step to reach a district championship game," Bass said. "That's our expectation."
The Raiders will rely on a roster loaded with sophomores to get there. Of the 20 players on roster, 10 of them are sophomores. They'll be littered all over the field, too.
North Shelby graduates its top running backs in Shaughn Malcarne and Mason Perry, who both rushed for more than 900 yards and scored a combined 30 touchdowns. North Shelby's offense averaged 31.1 points per game last season.
That leaves the ball carrying duties to Dayton Mettes, Ethan Geisendorfer and even quarterback Mason Uhlmeyer in the Raiders' spread option offense.
The line on both sides of the ball will also feature sophomores like Carson Mesmer, but also upperclassmen like junior Bryant Gibbons.
A number of those sophomores saw playing time as freshmen.
"I think there were four our five freshmen last year that scored touchdowns," Mettes said. "That set the fire for us to want to come back out and play harder this year."
The Raiders believe that's an advantage this season.
"Last year's seniors did a really good job of taking pressure off the younger guys that were freshmen," Bass said. "It let them come along and by the end of the year they were ready to contribute. That can carry over this year when they step into new roles."
NORTH SHELBY: AT A GLANCE
Coach: Seth Bass (5-6 at North Shelby, second season)
2016 record: 5-6
Offense: Spread option
Offense -- OL Carson Mesmer, 6-2, 210, Soph.; QB/RB Mason Uhlmeyer, 6-1, 175, Jr.; OL Bryant Gibbons, 5-10, 170, Jr.
Defense -- LB Gibbons; DT Mesmer; LB/DB Uhlmeyer
Other returning letterwinners
OL/DE Nick Miles, 5-10, 200, Jr.; RB Ethan Geisendorfer, 5-7, 155, Soph.; QB/DB Dayton Mettes, 6-1, 155, Soph.; DE/TE Elijah Greenwell, 6-1, 160, Soph.; DT/TE Gus Williams, 6-1, 160, Soph.; WR Joseph Pratt, 5-9, 138, Sr.
Aug. 18 at Northwest Hughesville
Aug. 25 Worth County
Sept. 1 at Norborne
Sept. 8 Braymer
Sept. 15 South Nodaway
Sept. 23 at Rock Port
Sept. 29 at Stanberry
Oct. 5 Kansas School for the Deaf
Oct. 14 at Greenfield
LAST TEN YEARS
Year Overall (Conf.) Coach
2016 5-6 Seth Bass
2015 1-9 (0-5) Todd Cripe
2014 0-10 (0-5) Todd Cripe
2013 0-10 (0-5) Todd Cripe
2012 0-10 (0-5) Josh Brummit
2011 0-10 (0-5) Josh Brummit
2010 0-10 (0-5) Josh Brummit
2009 3-7 (2-5) Terry Ahern
2008 8-4 (5-2) Terry Ahern
2007 3-7 (2-5) Terry Ahern
*--North Shelby moved to eight-man football in 2016