The Bedford football program has faced plenty of adversity the past two seasons, but none of the on-field issues can compare to what senior Josh Krupa has gone through.
The Bisons' lineman struggled to return from brain surgery and a torn labrum to play at less than 100 percent a year ago.
''It's been really tough to get back,'' Krupa said. ''Usually I come in already in shape and strong, but last year it was just so hard to get back to where I was.''
Neither Krupa or the Bisons got back to the levels of success they're used to in 2007 as Bedford finished just 2-8.
''I missed camp and the first two games of last year,'' Krupa said. ''I didn't have as much success last year as the year before. It was hard to get back into the swing of things.''
Now back to full health, Krupa is hoping he and the other returning seniors can bring the Bedford program back to where it was when they began their varsity careers.
''I came up my freshman year and worked with the varsity a bit, and they had a good year,'' Krupa said. ''My sophomore year was okay, and then last year we went 2-8, and you just can't have that.
''In our senior year this year, we just want to win. I'm hoping that this is the team that gets Bedford back on the winning track.''
Krupa will play a large part in beginning the turnaround.
''He's the center, and if you can't get the snap off you don't have a team,'' first-year Bedford coach Dan Smith said. ''So right now we have him penciled in as our starting center, and I'm hoping he can be the nucleus of our offensive line.''
Krupa is a three-sport athlete, wrestling and competing in track and field along with football. Despite his pair of surgeries a year ago, Krupa still competed in all three sports.
''He's No. 7 in his class,'' Smith said. ''He always says 'yes sir,' 'no sir,' and he's just a great kid.''
Smith and Krupa agree that a key to Bedford's renewed success will be team unity.
''Every time we start a practice or end a practice we say, 'Team Bison,''' Smith said. ''We need to gel together and have a couple people step up as leaders.
''I'm hoping Josh is going to be my offensive line leader; I'm hoping my quarterback Mike Short is going to be my offensive backfield leader, and we're just looking for a couple people on defense to step up and lead by example.''