WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Kapaun Mt. Carmel was a powerhouse in the late 70s and 80s. The last time they brought home a state title, however, was 1987.

Head coach Weston Schartz believes his program is turning a corner — a winning corner.

Just last year, the Crusaders were one play away from going to the 5A state title game. They lost to Maize in a heartbreaker, 22-21.

Kapaun has been using that loss and experience as motivation for this upcoming season.

“We have a lot of starters back from a pretty good team last year,” said Schartz. “We were one play away from going to the state championship and got a lot of key elements coming back, and these guys are working hard. The program has turned around.”

In order to make it back to the playoffs and state, the Crusaders are working specifically on the fourth quarter. They want to start strong and finish even stronger.

“Our biggest thing is finish, and that’s what we’ve been going by,” explained linebacker Nathan Fury. “Finish out that last fourth quarter, that’s what got us last year, late last year and we’ve been making sure at the very end of practice to go 100%, we are not dogging. We are ready to get out there and show them that we’ve improved in the offseason.”

Kapaun Mt. Carmel opens the season at Wichita South on Sept. 2. They’ll return home to face Wichita East on Sept. 9.