For Ty Shetter and Brett Gould, bigger and badder will hopefully mean better for the 2014 football season.
The Sterling seniors were virtual non-factors in an injury-plagued 2013 season. Shetter played in just one game, while Gould didn't see any action.
An offseason of weight work, combined with natural maturity, has them positioned to be impact players for the Golden Warriors heading into the season opener on Aug. 29 at Metamora.
"These are two guys who kind of epitomize what the weightroom can do in changing and getting a step ahead of other people," Sterling coach Jon Schlemmer said. "They're so much stronger and faster because of what they did up there."
Shetter noted he entered his junior season at about 5-foot-9, 145 pounds. He's now an even 6-0, and weighs 165. Weightlifting sessions 4 days a week after school this past spring, combined with early-morning workouts this summer, have transformed his body into one of a typical varsity football player.
"I feel a lot better than I was going into last year," Shetter said. "I'm a lot bigger and stronger."
Shetter is also one of the speedier Golden Warriors, and figures to play a prominent role in the passing game.
"He's a guy that we're looking to get a lot of touches," Schlemmer said. "He can really catch the ball, but he's also a great blocker. He's going to be a very big part of our offense."
Defensively, Shetter will be in the mix for a safety position. He was a starting cornerback a year ago before getting hurt in a Week 2 win against Johnsburg.
It is on defense where Gould hopes to make his biggest impact, at defensive end. He was a 6-1, 170-pound linebacker as a junior, but has blossomed into a 6-3, 195-pounder who, it is hoped, can handle the physical demands of playing on the line.
"It's a little different from what I played in the past," Gould said, "but the coaches put me there for a reason, and I'm going to try to do my best at the new spot. Being so tall, I've got to get low and stay low. It's all about getting to the quarterback."
Schlemmer noted Gould will likely be a work in progress, as he adjusts to the new position.
"He's got some technique stuff that he's still working on," Schlemmer said, "but he's been very coachable. Coach [Mike] Lemay, our defensive line coach, has been impressed with the way he's been making strides every single day."
On offense, Gould will vie for snaps at tight end.
When asked what their goals were for the season, both Shetter and Gould mentioned the team ahead of anything they could accomplish individually. Specifically, it's about getting back to the playoffs.
Sterling went 5-4 last season, and had an 11-year postseason run snapped.
"We were decent, but it was disappointing not making the playoffs," Shetter said of the 2013 season. "We're really looking forward to making the playoffs this year."
Did you know?
Sterling was one of 58 teams in Illinois to post 5-4 records in 2013, and 48 of those qualified for the playoffs. The Golden Warriors ended up with 35 playoff points (wins by opponents), and the cutoff was 36.