PCS running back Sheldon James heard the doubts.
"I saw a bunch of articles," James said. "You know PCS in a rebuilding year. I try to just block all that out because I knew I believed in this team."
The questions surrounded the Bobcats' running game following the graduation of Isaiah Woullard. All he did was finish his career as the state's all-time leading rusher.
James watched it all in the shadows for three seasons. Now it's his turn.
"Night and day pretty much," he said. "I mean last year obviously we had one of the all-time greats...Isaiah. And it was really cool to learn from him and have that experience. But this year I'm a lot more involved in the offense."
This much was obvious in the Bobcats' season opening win over West Marion. James rushed for over 200 yards and three scores.
"Oh gosh it was amazing," Bobcats coach Joey Hawkins said. "Sheldon.. he worked for three years to get to this point. He's really devoted himself the whole year to replace Isaiah."
While the Bobcats are without Woullard's running power, they will enjoy the speed dynamic that James brings to the field.
"Sheldon...he's not as powerful as Isaiah but gosh when he sees a crack he can explode through it," Hawkins said. "The main thing is he's a wonderful person. A great leader. You can't beat Sheldon. He's what our program's been built on. Guys working hard, waiting on their opportunity to succeed and when they do they take advantage of it."
Added James, "I'm very blessed in my abilities from the lord. And also I'm blessed in this offensive line that we have. I mean these guys are incredible. Some of the best guys we've ever had."
It was just one game. But you can't deny the motivation of someone who has waited for their moment. This could lead James and his teammates to another historical run.
"It really didn't get to me," James said of waiting. "I knew I just had to continue to keep working. Just keep my head down. Keep up the work. I knew it was going to pay off and I think it has started to."