FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - The weight room is a common summer destination for every high school athlete.
But for the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane, it's become a place of redemption.
"They finished up the season with a little sour taste in their mouth," says head coach Jason Strickland.
The last time the Canes were on the field, they got pushed around in a 42-21 state title loss to Pace Academy. They don't want that to happen again.
"It proved to us it's going to take more work," says senior tight end Lecitus Smith. "We worked hard last year. We're going to have to work even harder this year if we want to get past that."
Work they have. Strickland says this offseason has provided some of the best strength and conditioning gains he's seen.
"We've always had good offseasons," he says. "What we haven't had since I've been here is the amount of veteran returning guys that we have on this group."
The Canes' offseason work is getting national attention.
When junior defensive lineman Anthony Ransey power cleaned 400 pounds earlier this summer, the video went viral.
"I saw him do it, and he just squatted real easy," says senior guard Jason Poe. "I was like man, I have to get that strong."
"What was neat was he was so calm afterward. Everybody else in the room were the ones jacked up," Strickland laughs. "The excitement in that room was just a huge, huge amount."
Now as the Canes prepare to turn their focus to the 2016 season, they hope a solid summer in this room will vault a talented team to the top.
"When you get to the last weekend of the season, there's going to be folks running spread offenses and wing-T. Defensively, there's going to be folks that run a 4-4, a 4-3, or a 3-3-5," Strickland says. "The one thing they're all going to have in common is a great work ethic in the weight room."