Last season was a throwback for Fox.

The Foxes went 12-1 in Class B, with their only loss coming at the hands of Pond Creek-Hunter in the state semifinals. On paper, the only way to trump last season would be with an appearance in the state championship game.
But that's not what coach Brent Phelps is thinking.

"I want to win week 1," Phelps said. "What happens after that comes after that.

"Our major goal right now is Temple, week 1. As a team, we set goals, but there's none more important than winning that first game."

Fox returns five starters on each side of the ball, including All-Ardmoreite Super Team quarterback Taylor Townsend, who accounted for 3,660 yards of offense (2,377 passing, 1,283 rushing) as a junior.

Scary thing is, Townsend thinks the Foxes have worked harder this offseason than any he can remember. That's compared to last year's 12-1 team that averaged 38 points per game.

"Everybody's worked harder this year," Townsend said. "We know the offense better; I know my role and what I need to do as a QB better. We know the defense better; it's two years into both the offense and the defense."

The Foxes will be without one of their top pass catching targets from a year ago in Keaton Argo, as well as starting lineman Ethen Eaves and running back/receiver William Lovely. But the Foxes' coaching staff expects breakout seasons from players like junior receiver Kamriq Bucyks, sophomore running back/receiver Seth Argo and senior lineman Deaunta Winslett.

"A bunch of young kids are going to step up and do a good job," Townsend said.

An offseason of reflection has given Fox even more incentive to get back to the seminfinals. Pond Creek-Hunter shut the Foxes out 52-0 in that game.

"(Pond Creek-Hunter) gave us a wake-up call when we got there," Townsend said. "We faced a better, stronger team, so it gave us the reflection that we need to get in the weight room all summer and get stronger. We did and I was proud of the guys because we all got in there and hit it hard."

"It gave us high expectations as a team," said senior linebacker Jerry Mitchell, the leading returning tackler (77) for Fox. "I learned a lot from last year, and I'm going to put all the experience from last year into this year to help the team go for a state championship."

Fox is entering its final season in Class B before moving down to Class C in 2014. Phelps isn't worried too much about that, either, nor is he worried about Fox replicating last year's results.

"Last year's the past," Phelps said. "All we know is last year we ended up getting beat. The first thing we told these guys is 'you walk into this and last year's over.' The only thing you should remember is that last game you played. Did you win it or did you lose it?

"A lot of it stems from they realize they don't want to end the season with a loss."

Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD