Here's what's changed for Eaglecrest football this offseason: Dustin Delaney, a highly-successful coach from Kansas, was hired to lead the program.

Here's what hasn't changed: The expectations.

Delaney, hired from Shawnee Mission East in January, replaces Mike Schmitt, who resigned in December to move to Pennsylvania with his family. Delaney's record as a head coach is 78-18 in eight seasons as coach, including a state championship in 2014.

So his history and expectation — success — make for a perfect blend with his new program.

"The kids know the expectations," Delaney said this summer. "So it's easier to get them to work and do things when they know what we're capable of doing. That's been set from the success they've had the last two years, and we're going to try to carry that on and run with it."

Eaglecrest, winners of 21 consecutive regular season games, reached the Class 5A state title game last season, falling to Pomona in a thrilling 56-49 contest. The Raptors are 24-2 over the past two seasons.

Their focus is not only to reach the state championship game yet again, but to win the title this time.

"They know. We talk about it every day," Delaney said. "They know what we're trying to do, and we won't expect anything less than their best, because our goal is to win the state title."

Said Elijah Anderson-Taylor, a senior linebacker who is one of the captains this fall: "Our expectation is to be the best that we can be. We have the talent and the skill to get back to the state championship game."

It wasn't always like that at Eaglecrest. This year's group of seniors went 4-6 as freshmen. From 2006-2015, the program had just one winning season.

That change speaks to what Schmitt and the players built the program into.

Eaglecrest football Reece Atteberry

Reece Atteberry. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

"Shoot, the expectations have skyrocketed," said Reece Atteberry, a junior offensive lineman. "When we came in, we were a rough program, trying to take what we can and control what we can. ... Now, the expectations are very high, which is fine, because sometimes pressure creates diamonds."

Added Jake Wiley, a senior offensive lineman: "It's definitely our expectation to win games, practice hard, and play hard, and be successful."

The foundation of this year's team will undoubtedly be the offensive line.

Atteberry and senior Barrett Miller were both first-team all-state selections last season. Wiley, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, is committed to the University of Colorado.

Miller (6-foot-5, 260 pounds), who drew national recruiting attention, committed to Stanford on Thursday. Likewise, Atteberry (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) has major programs recruiting him, including Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Oregon. CU and CSU have also offered Atteberry.

"Those kids are phenomenal players," Delaney said of the group. "On top of being great players, they're really intelligent, which makes it easy to do some line schemes. So we're definitely going to lean on them to lead us this year."

Eaglecrest football Jake Wiley

Jake Wiley. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Together, the trio helped Eaglecrest become of Colorado's top offenses last year as they amassed an average of 405 yards and 36.4 points per game. That offense will look different in 2018 as it transitions from a spread offense to a more traditional option offense.

The linemen will help in that transition.

"Anytime in football, it starts up front. You can't have a 3,000-yard rusher without a good O-line," Atteberry said. "You could have Reggie Bush, but if there's eight guys on him when he gets the ball, he's not going anywhere. It's a good starting point, but it's still only a starting point."

"It's a great foundation to have," Anderson-Taylor said. "It's the Triple Towers. It's not the Twin Towers. We've got the Triple Towers."

But Eaglecrest isn't going to walk out on the field in 2018 and expect anyone to roll over.

"We're not going to get complacent," Wiley said.

Defensively, it'll be Anderson-Taylor leading the way. He had 72 tackles, including 10 for a loss, last season.

Eaglecrest's schedule includes games against Highlands Ranch and Fountain-Fort Carson, playoff teams from a year ago, as well as league games against Grandview and Cherry Creek.

And though the transition to a new coaching staff took some time this summer, "We're getting going," Atteberry said. "It's finally rolling downhill."

All the way, they hope, to Mile High in December.

Eaglecrest football team

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)