BEDFORD, Pa. (WTAJ) — Bedford is coming off a strong season at 10-2 last year, but this year’s squad could be searching for a new identity with only five returning starters on both sides of the ball.

Gone is starting quarterback Mercury Swaim, who led an offense that averaged 41.5 points per game, but most of the skill positions are still in place for the new signal caller. Replacing someone who accounted more more than 2,200 yards and 32 total touchdowns isn’t easy, but one player who is expected to fill some of those shoes is running back Maxwell Washington. Washington burst onto the scene at the end of the season and played a crucial role in the Bisons District 5 Class 3A Subregional win over Clearfield by scoring four total touchdowns and adding 166 yards of total offense.

“We have several good players who are returning. It was huge for Max to have a great game against them last year because it was a great confidence builder for him,” said Head Coach Kevin Steele. “He finished the season exceptionally well last year along with several other kids which have stepped into leadership roles this year so we expect them to play well and be our leaders this year.”

“You stay confident and you kind of have to forget about those guys because you can’t rely on them anymore,” said Washington. “So you take the ownership in the team and it’s all about leadership and leading the young guys through.”

Bedford will surely have revenge on their mind this season after both of their losses were to Central, but that big matchup isn’t until week eight. The Bisons open up their season at home against Bishop McCort.