CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Last year, Christiansburg finished with a 10-4 record and third in the River Ridge District. Expectations are even higher entering 2023.

“We kind of wipe it clean but it’s still in the back of our minds. It’s not going to go away so we’re just going to use it as motivation,” senior quarterback Tanner Evans said.

The Blue Demons made it all the way to the Class 3 state semifinals, where they were shut out by Heritage, 43-0. The good news for Christiansburg is that the majority of last season’s team is still intact.

“People underestimate what Christiansburg really is but when it comes to game time. We prove that Christiansburg is the team every year,” junior left tackle Carter Stallard said.

For head coach Alex Wilkens, building a successful program is all about changing the culture.

“You know you get into the point where the kids expect to have winning habits and that’s what we really emphasize in our program,” Wilkens said. “You know it’s always nice when you know that the things that you preach. It kind of gets you the wins on the scoreboard so the kids can see that what you’re telling them carries some salt.”

Stallard says the program is built for continuity, with older players constantly teaching the younger ones.

“I think that’s why we never have a rebuild year because all of us are all in synch all the time,” Stallard said.

With Evans back at the helm of the offense, he’s looking to make even more noise on the field this year.

Evans said, “Definitely to bring us back to the playoffs and hopefully go back to state and then bring back player of the year.”