ROANOKE CO., Va. -

North Cross' football team made it all the way to the VISAA State Championship game last season where they fell to Virginia Episcopal School.

But the Raiders have a winning tradition under fifth-year head coach Stephen Alexander and have no doubt they'll have another strong season in 2014.

"It's just like any football program. You have to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. We have a lot of smart kids at North Cross. We have pretty good team speed, pretty good athletes,” Alexander said. “We're not very big and we don't have very much depth usually. We just try to build an offense and defense and special teams around our attributes and try to maximize the strengths of our personnel and minimize the fact that we don't have a lot of big boys or very many of them."

As the Raiders vie for their third football state title since 2008, they'll be looking to three-year starter and captain Max Revercomb to lead the team. He's back at quarterback and also linebacker, and will be a key piece on both sides of the ball for North Cross.

"In a lot of ways he's been the heart and soul of our program the last few years and I expect him to have another great year again this year,” Alexander said. “He got voted captain as a sophomore, as a junior then he's a captain again this year. Max loves football and he's committed to it. He's committed to North Cross. He's one of the best kids I've coached. He's one of the toughest kids I've coached and yeah, we look to him in a lot of ways-- offense, defense, as a leader."

Revercomb said: "I mean it really kind of left a sour taste in our mouth losing the last game so we came out hard for the two-a-days this year and are kind of ready to go. We have a few new key players. We lost a few guys but we've always been like a fast-paced offense. We have a lot of speed. We're kind of a smaller team but we definitely put that to our advantage."