HANOVERTON, Ohio (WKBN) – Last July, the United Local football team and head coach DJ Ogilvie were searching for the first win in program history.

Now, with that playoff win under their belt and Big 22 quarterback Luke Courtney returning, they’re looking for more in 2023.

“I’m just glad he’s on our team, you know, it’s a pleasure to coach Luke,” Ogilvie said. “It’s fun to see a kid like Luke develop, you know, who as a freshman wasn’t sure if he wanted to play football.”

A few years ago, Eagles quarterback Luke Courtney was on the fence about even joining the team.

“He came out and just kicked, and then one thing led to another. He wanted to try a position, and next thing you know, he’s playing quarterback for us,” Ogilvie said.

“It’s the best decision I ever made to do something else besides kick because it’s way more fun,” Courtney said.

He didn’t just fill in at quarterback, but he threw for more than 2,600 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 63 percent of his passes.

“It’s just like an awesome thing to be out here,” Courtney said. “And then to have those good breakout games and then win all those big games with your teammate, this is awesome.”

Along with Courtney comes four-year starter and Youngstown commit Dallas McCracken, who stands at 6’5″ and will once again anchor the offensive and defensive lines.

“Coming off of our first playoff win last year in school history, it’s kind of something else to prove something to our community,” McCracken said. “Saying that we won one last year, we can win more trying to make it to the state championship.”

And that is the message inside the locker room from coach Ogilvie all offseason.

“The bar is a little raised, a little higher now, so the expectation is to make the playoffs every year, that’s got to be a given, especially with 16 teams,” Ogilvie said. “So that’s the mentality it has to be, and I think our seniors are up to that challenge.”

United opens up their season on August 18 when they host Waterloo at home.