Its been 267 days since Linton-HMB hoisted their championship trophy. That’s nine months that the Lions have spent preparing for change.

“It’s definitely a little different,” head coach Tanner Purintun said. “It feels different having 11 guys on the field.”

The Lions are making the jump from 9-man to 11-man football. A new challenge for a team that knows all about overcoming obstacles.

“You know, bottom line football is football,” Purintun said. “It comes down to who’s going to be tougher, who can execute better. Right now our thing isn’t 11 vs 9 guys. Right now our thing is leadership.”

Only two seniors return this season from that championship team. The Lions now have to fill a void of the school’s all-time leading rusher, and their all-state quarterback.

“We’re not going to try to replace anybody,” senior Dean Vetter said. “We’ve just got to figure out a new way to do it. Somebody else is just going to have to step up and everybody’s got to just figure out what they’re good at, and we’re going to roll with that.”

The change starts up front with the Lions focusing on developing a young offensive line.

“In 11-man defense you can move around a lot more, there’s more gaps, you can disguise things differently,” Purintun explained. “It’s just our line is starting to get their calls figured out and starting to become comfortable with that.”

Head coach Tanner Purintun says he feels confident his team will be where they need to be come game one. The leaders of the Lions are doing their best to make sure that happens.

“We’re just trying to put them in the right spot to be successful,” junior Landon Bosch said. “Show them what they have to do to play varsity, and just get out there and be the best they can be.”

The Lions open their season on the road against Hazen on August 20.