At Wiregrass Ranch, football begins and ends in the weight room.

"I hear kids arguing, 'you can't lift four days a week'," said Wiregrass Ranch head coach Mark Kantor. "And I say , 'oh yes you can!'"

And no one seems to be disagreeing anymore. Especially after a 2016 season that saw the Bulls go to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

"We just bullied people on the field with our strength," said senior linebacker Chase Oliver. "Our weightlifting program has helped to improve our play and opponents can't keep up by the fourth quarter. They do not want anymore of the battle."

"We have bought in to Coach Kantor's plan," said Bulls junior quarterback Grant Sessums. "I think everyone here understands what it takes to win and it starts with us getting stronger."

The weight room can also be a place where working out can relieve stress and frustration. Especially when life throws a flag.  

Carrollwood Day transfer Raymond Woodie III moved with his family after his father was named to Willie Taggart's staff at Oregon. 

But the big surprise was Shamaur McDowell. In a story broken by spectrum sports, it was learned that McDowell was transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton. 

The team just decided to use a simple, well-known football phrase: Next Man Up.

"That is the way it is going to be," said Kantor, who helped turned around the Bulls program in just two seasons. "Guys who don't want to be here...that's fine...this isn't for everybody."

"It's on them if they don't believe in the system and want to leave," said Sessums. "We have plenty of talent. We can slot guys anywhere and we will be fine."

Expectations remain high in Pasco County, and the Bulls know that when life throws something heavy, all the players have to do is push back.

After all, they are strong enough to deal with adversity from all that weightlifting.