KILLEEN - In 17 days, high school football will kick off under the Friday night lights.
All central Texas high schools have begun fall camp, and one team has hopped onto the radar in district 8-6A.
The Killeen Kangaroos enter the 2017 season after posting a 5-6 record in 2016 -- which clinched the team a postseason berth for the first time in four years.
"It meant everything, especially since the path to make the playoffs involved beating all of our city teams," Killeen senior linebacker Vrashon Walker said. "Ellison, Heights, Shoemaker... those are big games for us because all of us are friends. We grew up in the same neighborhoods, so we all know each other."
Killeen coach Neal Searcy said the team bought into one another and the coaching staff in 2016. Searcy said the players bought into the coaches' message and that won the team some key games. He hopes that mentality carries on into 2017.
Killeen secured the city championship in 2016 after defeating Ellison, Shoemaker, and Heights last season, but a city championship is no longer enough for the Kangaroos. The defending city champs have changed its expectations. The team is looking to accomplish a feat which hasn't been done by the Kangaroos since 1991.
"We're going to go out and work and try to become a championship football team," Searcy said. "I think you have to have high expectations to give the kids something to reach for."
The Kangaroos shoot into 2017 with 11 returning starters, and have a note one large change for fans to remember.
"We're not going to sneak up on anybody this year," Searcy said. "Everybody's going to be preparing for the Killeen Kangaroos."
Killeen High School plays its season opener September 1 against Stony Point at Leo Buckley Stadium.
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