GATLINBURG, Tenn. — With the season fast approaching, we take a look inside a morning practice with the Gatlinburg-Pittman football team to see what life in the Smokies is all about.

"Everybody wants to come on Fridays and watch the game," said head coach Derek Rang. "There's a lot that goes into the game, our kids are up here at 7 am just putting a lot of work into it and a lot of commitment. They're doing stuff in the mornings, they're doing stuff in the evenings and they're working out and doing all this stuff that sometimes it's not fun, but it's worth it when it's all said and done." 

GP returns 16 starters to a team that made it to the second round of the playoffs last season. One of those returning starters is senior quarterback J.D. Schults. He's excited for the new opportunities this season.

"A lot of us have played a lot of football, so the community is looking forward to our season because we should have a really good season with all the players we have back."

With that many returning players, the Highlanders have a tight knit group. 

"We just like to have fun, that's our biggest thing, we always have fun, we never really argue or complain," said senior running back and outside linebacker Bryce Akey. 

Watch how it all comes together for Gatlinburg-Pittman this season on The Blitz, Friday's at 11:15 p.m. on Channel 10.