Over the past two seasons, the Methacton football team has stumbled out of the starting gate like a sailor on weekend leave.
Two years ago, the Warriors lost their first three games. Last season, they found themselves 1-3 heading into Week 5.
"That's our big thing this year,' Methacton coach Paul Lepre said. "We've got to find a way to get into that midseason form at the beginning of the season.'
The flip side of the Warriors' sluggish beginnings has been their penchant for finishing strong — they've closed out each of the past two seasons with four straight victories.
Lepre hopes that trend can carry over with a squad that should be able to put plenty of points on the board thanks to the returning combination of quarterback Conner Derrickson and slotback Akeem Walcott and an experienced offensive line led by the quartet of Jake Keim, Justin Bossard, Luke Miller and Ryan Hoehl.
"I think what we'll bring to the table offensively is making people have to defend the whole field,' Lepre said. "Last year, with a guy like (star fullback) Mike Cassidy, a major part of our offense was between the tackles. Now I think we have the capability of spreading it out more with some depth at the skill positions.'
That depth should include players such as receiver Griffin Bilicic and running backs Louis Cotteta, Dontae Thomas and Nick Nwankwo.
On the other side of the ball, Lepre will look to a secondary that includes Walcott (moving from corner to safety), Dylan Feaster, Thomas and Cotteta to hold down the fort.
"Those guys can play some shutdown football on the edges, which I think will give our interior guys an opportunity to move around and lay some attacking-type of defense up front,' Lepre said.
Last year, Methacton (6-3 PAC-10, 7-4 overall) won seven of its final nine games to post its third straight winning season for the first time since 1992 while racking up a school-record 343 points.
And this fall, Lepre and the Warriors are hoping a quicker start can translate into an even more formidable finish.
"It's going to take a lot of hard work, and we need our young guys to step up and do their jobs,' said Derrickson, a 5-9, 160-pound senior who threw for 1,115 yards and 15 touchdowns last year while rushing for 736 yards and seven more scores. "Basically, just executing to the best of our abilities.'
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.