Both the coaches and players at Winfield realize they're battling a culture of losing, but are determined to get that mentality turned around.
"It's going to be a long process,'' said senior safety Alan Short. "We've been known as a team that can kind of be lazy at times, doesn't pursue the ball, not tough, kind of a weak team. But our numbers in the weight room have been great and we work hard day in and day out. We just have to be mentally tough.
"I have to keep my head straight on and off the field. I don't want to set a bad example for the younger guys as they're coming up through their high school years. It's the time of their life, and they don't want to mess things up because football has more of a meaning than just on the field. It sets examples all throughout life. It makes you a man.''
Both coaches, former longtime assistants, know full well what it means to tackle a regular-season schedule in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
The MSAC parted ways this fall with a pair of programs that hadn't made the state playoffs since 1998 (Greenbrier East) or ever (Lincoln County). The 15-team combination that remains thus probably grows stronger.
"It's an old saying that anyone [in the league] can beat anyone,'' Taylor said, "but if I was the third-ranked team [in the playoff seedings], I wouldn't want to play the 14th-ranked team if it came out of the MSAC. I'd rather play one of those other schools that plays a lot of double-As and stuff like that.
"Even if you're [George Washington] and you're No. 1, you could be playing another MSAC school somewhere along the line. No. 8 could be Cabell Midland, maybe another MSAC team you've already played. We're in the toughest conference in the state without a doubt.
"As long as we do what we have to do, we'll win,'' he said. "We've got to have that mentality - that we will win. We'll find a way. If we do that, we'll be fine.''
"We have our work cut out for us,'' Snyder said. "One of the biggest differences these MSAC schools have is so many players, and they play more players. I'm thinking of playing more players, and potentially it can make a difference. It's something we're committed to doing, and I think it will make a difference.
"I just think there are challenges no matter what. We have the talent and the heart to be competitive. I don't see it as a negative. I teach in this community; this is my 17th year coaching in Winfield. I'm excited to have finally gotten the opportunity to lead the team. What you'll see in our locker room won't be a lot of flashy players. It'll be kids who are going to work hard and hopefully execute and be tough, and maybe in a little bit better shape than everyone else.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.