A small town like Williamsburg will likely never produce a football team blessed with large numbers, but that hasn't stopped head coach Dick Baronner and his squad of dedicated players from working hard this past offseason.
''At a small school like ours, numbers are always going to be an issue, but one of the things I've learned is that it doesn't do me or anyone else any good to worry about that,'' Baronner said. ''There's about 12 to 15 kids that have done a decent amount of work over the winter and early summer, and we basically have our plays set.
''One of the things we talk about is whether 20 guys show up or eight guys show up we're going to get some work done. We're going to constantly try to improve whether our numbers are good, bad or whatever.''
Senior quarterback and strong safety Joe Fay was among the players putting in time this offseason to make the Blue Pirates the best they can be in 2008.
''Joe has a good arm, and he's a smart kid,'' Baronner said. ''We expect him to do well at quarterback for us by eliminating mistakes and making good choices.''
Already struggling with depth, Baronner also lost a pair of leaders in Mitch Yeager and Nate Robley from last year's squad and is hoping Fay can help fill that void.
''Joe understands the defense we're trying to run out there,'' Baronner said. ''He's not a big physical kind of guy, but he knows where everyone is supposed to be. He's a great guy to have out there on defense, because if someone goes down, and we need a replacement that doesn't have a lot of experience, he can let them know where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to do.''
Fay appears to be ready to step into the spotlight after being a quiet presence a year ago.
''I'll have to step up and be a leader instead of standing back and not doing anything,'' Fay said. ''I'll be there to show the other kids how to do things.''
Williamsburg began the season 1-1 last season before dropping its final seven games. The 2007 team began the season with just 26 players and lost some due to injuries and players leaving the team midseason.
''Football is tough work,'' Baronner said. ''The fact that it is such hard work means you're always going to have guys who fall by the wayside. Bigger schools can absorb that a lot better than we can. If you lose five kids from a team of 25-30 guys it can be devastating.''
Most of the players who stick around on Williamsburg's roster will see a large number of plays including some who will play nearly every offensive, defensive and special teams play. Fay is likely to be one of those players and believes this offseason's hard work will pay off as the season wears on.
''It's pretty tough [to be on the field an entire game],'' Fay said. ''You have to be in pretty good shape just to get through it, and toward the end of the season it feels pretty rough, and you still have some games to play.''