63 players, including 12 seniors and 17 juniors, at first workout

BANGS — There's no doubt about the Bangs Dragons' expectations following Monday's first practice of the season.

“Our goal is to be a playoff team and have a winning record this year,” said Dragons third-year head coach Jim Bird, whose team is coming off a 2-8 season in 2016. “That's the next step for us to take in our yearly improvements. We feel pretty confident about winning more games than we did last year. It's just a matter of how good do they want to be.”

Bird welcomed 63 players to the first workouts of the season and was pleased with what he saw.

“The kids were upbeat and worked hard,” Bird said. “We have 12 seniors and 17 juniors and the younger classes have more kids. Every year the classes are coming in bigger. The numbers are looking good and we're excited about the new year. We told the kids the expectations we're putting on them and that they should put on themselves is to win.”

Among the first-day objectives was to learn new terminology and formations.

“We're doing a lot of the same stuff we did last year, but we're going to do it out of more formations,” Bird said. “We're altering the stuff they already know and adding some stuff to it.”

The Dragons will suit up in full pads for the first time when the clock strikes midnight Friday, continuing their Midnight Madness tradition since Bird's arrival.

“Last year we left that practice surprisingly physical for what we expected,” Bird said. “We've put in an enormous amount of hard work in the weight room the last calendar year and we're looking for that to pay off. We want them to display physical and mental toughness.”