Knoxville Central High School has held the motto "Pride and Tradition" near and dear to its heart since 1906.

The enthusiasm extends to its football team, the Bobcats, who are coming off one of the most exciting seasons in program history.

No one could stop Central in 2016. Not Carter, not Greeneville, not Fulton (twice, actually). At times, the Bobcats were the most exciting team around, led by quarterback Trey Mitchell and running back/linebacker hybrid Jadarius Sackie. The team won 11 consecutive games en route to the state championship game.

But Central came up just a win short in its state title run, dropping the championship game to Memphis East, 27-3. Gone are Mitchell and Sackie. It's now time for the summer grind.

Central has improved each year under head coach Bryson Rosser.

"I think you're starting to see the program finally turn the way we want it to," Rosser said of the team's success.

Rosser said he tells the team often that they will need to leave their own legacy on the field each day. The team also has the most depth at wide receiver and defensive back that Rosser has seen in his tenure at Central.

"They're extremely talented," Rosser said with a smile. "Everyone loves to have athletes. I know I do."

The offensive line returns five starters and will be integral to the team's success in 2017. Left tackle Antwon Harris said that's where you can find most of the vocal leaders.

"Those guys are natural born leaders," Harris said of his teammates on the line. "They're good at expressing how they feel and getting others to relate to them."

"We're always going to be a team that finishes the game, no matter what," running back/linebacker Seth Armstrong said.

Central will travel to Bristol for its first game of the season to play Tennessee High School on Thursday, Aug. 17