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Liberty High assistant coach Rick Tucker goes over some plays during a morning practice.

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Liberty High School football coach Bryan Nixon.

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Braylin Scott, Liberty High player.

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Liberty High assistant coach Rick Tucker goes over some plays with the team Wednesday morning at practice.

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Liberty High football players mix it up during Wednesday morning early practice.

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Liberty High football coach Bryan Nixon instructs his team during an early morning, summer practice.

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Liberty High defenseman Ruben Guerra goes for a water break.

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LIberty High player Anthony Mariscal goes after the ball carrier during 6 a.m. practice at Liberty.

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Liberty High player Stavros Katsantonis.

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Liberty High School quarterback Brett Voth throws during an early morning practice.

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Liberty High player Braylin Scott, left, blocks a pass intended for receiver Matt Owen during a recent practice at Liberty.

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Liberty High quarterback Brett Voth throws during practice under the watchful eye of coach Bryan Nixon.

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LIberty High quarterback Brett Voth makes a play with the offensive players at a recent Liberty practice preparing for another football season.

Bryan Nixon is not a fan of one particular word.

Potential.

The second-year Liberty football coach calls it "the P-word."

But after the Patriots went 9-1 in the regular season last year before falling to Clovis in the Central Section playoffs, the talk around fall camp is just that.

"I think we have lot of potential with this group," Nixon said. "There are a lot of returners and a lot of leadership. Overall, it's the most team speed we've had."

With returning starters like Anthony Mariscal, Ruben Guerra, Stavros Katsntonis and Krys Barnes back, the Patriots are loaded and ready for another solid campaign.

"We can go very far as long as we are always with each other and staying together and communicating and pushing each other to the next level and keep going," Barnes said.

Liberty opens up the season at Mission Viejo in Orange County on Aug. 29. The non-league schedule doesn't get much easier with Ridgeview and Fresno-Central on the docket before Southwest Yosemite League action opens at Frontier on Oct. 10.

So the question for the coaches and players regarding the league bragging rights for this fall, is why not the Patriots?

"Why not? Our preseason puts us in a situation to prepare us for our league schedule," Nixon said. "Week in and week out in the SWYL, you've got to bring your A game. That's awesome. If you go through that unscathed and ready to play, your playoff run can be pretty good."

The strength for Liberty early on will be the defense. With Mariscal, a verbal commit to Arizona, leading the charge, the Patriots feel they have a shutdown defense.

"We can definitely be one of the top (defenses) in the Central Section, if not the state," Katsntonis said. "If we are all getting on our top levels, I think we can be really good and not give up a lot of points."

Along with the core group of returners, Nixon says the addition of Curtis Brown, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound sophomore that was called up to varsity in the playoffs in 2013, can bolster the line.

"He is a very special athlete," Nixon said. "We brought him up for the playoffs as a freshman, and he ended up seeing some time at the end of the game. He has put himself in a position to be a pretty dominate D-end."

Brett Voth is the front-runner to replace Josh Medina at quarterback, and Mariscal will return as the feature back who will do a lot of damage behind Ruben Guerra and an experienced offensive line.

"We are one of the toughest and most powerful teams out here," Mariscal said. "League is for anyone to take. No one has a title already this season. I think it's ours to take this year."