CHANTILLY, Va. (DC News Now) — The Paul VI Panthers have seen massive improvement with their program under head coach Mike Grandizio.

In 2021, PVI went 7-4. In 2022, they went 9-3, making it all the way to the WCAC Metro Championship game in Annapolis at the end of the year.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the ending to the successful year that Paul VI wanted, falling to Archbishop Carroll 46-28. In 2023, the team knows what it will take to get to the top.

“The extra step is going to be the maturity on the offensive and de3fensive line,” said Grandizio. “It’s going to take physical and mental toughness across the board. That’s the one big step we want to take. A winning record, made it to the finals, that’s successful.

Paul VI is known for being a run heavy offense, and will be returning all-conference running back Gavin Colby. However, the team only returns ten starters from last year, but a lot of players with experience on a Friday night.

“We are going to have to capitalize on our leadership,” said Colby. “All the captains need to hold everyone accountable. Work to the basics, stay after practice, film. Just do everything we can to do more than what we have done the past couple of years. We want it bad this year, and I definitely think we have a great shot.”

Paul VI opens up their 2023 season at home on Friday, September 1, against Virginia Academy at 7 p.m.