"Our expectations are much higher," Shutter said.
Offense: Eight starters return on offense, including the duo of Jared Smeltzer and Andy Siple. Smeltzer led Eastern last season with 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns. Siple rushed for 923 yards and 10 TDs.
Mark Holloway returns behind center for his junior season, and when not handing the ball off to the thunder-and-lightning duo, he will look downfield for Drake Dunlap and Ryan Yohe.
Dunlap caught 11 passes from Holloway last season and averaged more than 20 yards per reception, while Yohe hauled in 12 throws for more than 11 yards per reception.
Ethan Buser anchors an offensive line that returns three starters from last season.
"We have a lot of seniors who are going to lead our offense this season," Shutter said. "A lot of guys with experience."
With the recent success of the option game, the Golden Knights aren't going to make any drastic changes and are looking to carry a balanced offensive attack, with Holloway working out of the shotgun.
Defense: Speed will be the key to Eastern's defense this season, as the Knights attempt to stop the run - something they haven't done effectively in recent years.
"This is one of the fastest
defenses I've ever coached, and we have a lot of skill kids who can get to the ball," Shutter said. "We're putting our focus on getting the ball and stopping the run."
Jake Richardson joins the team at linebacker after transferring from Texas this summer and will join
returners Justin Myers, Aaron Mackley and Vino Karanicolas. Quinn Toomey and Dunlap return to the Golden Knights secondary.
"It's going to be a smaller defense again, but I'm happy with our speed," Shutter said. "We're making improvements all over the field."
Intangibles: Eastern won't have much worry on special teams, as junior Erik Moore returns, looking to improve on last season's five field goals and 16 PATs.
Shutter is making one major change to his team this season, thanks to lessons learned in his last three years with the Golden Knights.
"One reason we weren't being competitive was we had too many kids playing both ways," Shutter said. "This season we're working on developing talent. We'll have more kids playing."
As more players get involved on the field, the team camaraderie has improved as well, according to Shutter, and that could lead to success.
Verdict: Returning almost every player from last season's 3-7 team, Eastern should be more competitive than that squad, which failed to win a division game.
Shutter says his team's ability to stay healthy and how they battle through adversity will play a big role in determining their outcome.
"It's many of the same opponents," Shutter said. "We know these teams, there aren't any surprises.
"We've made progress - not fast progress - but progress each season, and each year it gets a little better. With our experience, we should be better this season."
JARED SMELTZER: Running back
What's the most exciting thing about season openers? The team from the other side of the bridge (Columbia). We don't like calling them by their name, but it's the team we look forward to the most each season.
Do you have a nickname? No.
Who's the one player on your team you wouldn't want to face? Andy Siple, the other running back. I know what he's capable of doing. He runs hard and doesn't give up.
What practice drill do you hate the most? Anything to do with conditioning at the end of practice. It helps us out in the long run, but I hate doing it.
What's your favorite move to make on the field? Running someone over when you have the ball. Just being able to bulldoze a guy at 143 pounds is pretty awesome.
Which NFL player would you compare to yourself? I don't really watch the NFL, I'm not inside often. (Teammates Ryan Yohe and Ethan Buser helped Smeltzer out, saying he's comparable to Barry Sanders because he runs real low to the ground, and once he finds a gap, he's gone.)
What's your favorite pregame meal? Big Bob's Barbeque with scalloped potatoes.
Great game: Oct. 27, 2006
Eastern York 19, Dover 14: Eastern York refused to give up and knocked off visiting Dover in this homecoming game played in inclement conditions.
Dover built an early 14-0 lead before Eastern York began to claw back.
Ian Melhorn's 1-yard run (which followed his own 42-yard rumble) cut the Eastern York deficit in half.
Later in the second quarter, Eastern pulled to within 14-13 on Mike Kraft's 19th touchdown pass of the season, an 11-yarder to Zach Seitz.
Kraft himself scored the game-winner on a 6-yard run with 2:19 left in the game. Walter Lighty led Eastern with 91 yards rushing, while Melhorn added 60 yards on 11 rushes.