Now all of them are looking forward to starting in their first Boyle County-Danville game Friday.
"It's going to be fun all week, just practicing and getting ready for it," Bertram said.
These sophomores are a confident group, but not a cocky one. They know their place in the pecking order, and they know there's a lot they still don't know.
"We're still learning," Tamme said. "We just have to follow our senior leadership."
Smith said that's just what he's counting on.
"It is a talented class, and we're counting on our seniors to show this young group how to do it, because they've been there before and they know how to get it done."
This has happened before at Boyle
This has happened before at Boyle, and not so very long ago. In 2000, the Rebels had a number of holes to fill after winning the school's first state championship the year before.
Four sophomores spent at least part of that season in the starting lineup.
And things worked out all right for the Rebels then. They followed the school's first unbeaten season with another one and won the second of what has become four straight state championships.
Smith said these sophomores could become as valuable as the sophomores of 2000.
"They've got some good qualities, but they've got to prove they're champions like that group did. The verdict's still out on that," the Boyle coach said.
The cream of the sophomore crop rose a little closer to the top this summer after about half a dozen players left the team.
"After everybody quit in the off-season, (Smith) told us we needed to step it up because we had to fill those positions," Bertram said.
They have done just that. Morris has started at receiver, Bertram at middle linebacker and Tamme at cornerback in Boyle's first two games, and Whitehouse started in place of injured defensive tackle Patrick Wilson last week.
"After my freshman year, I didn't really know how much I was going to play, but I knew when my time came I had to step it up," Bertram said.
"When we're on the field, we're not looked at as sophomores but as playmakers," Morris said.
No comparison to what they'll experience Friday
The four sophomores are looking forward to making some big plays Friday at Admiral Stadium. They have played Danville teams before, but they have seen enough Boyle-Danville varsity games to know those don't compare to what they'll experience Friday night.
"I can't wait for the huge atmosphere," Tamme said.
The game's meaning will be a bit different for Morris, who transferred from Danville's middle school to Boyle's before his eighth-grade year.
"It's something I've waited for," he said. "It's something you dream about."
But Morris said the Rebels must work hard to keep that dream from becoming a nightmare.
"Danville's a great football team," he said. "Last week we didn't have a very good week of practice but we stepped up on Friday. I don't think we can do that this week."
Even though they didn't play in last year's game, they agonized along with their teammates after Danville defeated Boyle 20-10 to end the Rebels' 47-game winning streak three victories shy of the state record.
"No player will ever forget losing to them last year," Bertram said. "That sticks in the back of your mind."