The Staples football team isn’t used to being on the outside looking in when it comes to the state tournament, but that’s been the case the last two seasons as the Wreckers have had to watch many of their rivals be crowned champions.

The absence has fueled a hunger among the current crop of athletes, and one that hopes to lead to success in the fall as the Wreckers hosted their annual spring game on Tuesday afternoon.

Though the season is three months away, preparations are underway for what hopes to be a turnaround year for the team. Despite the playoff absence, Staples went a combined 15-7 in 2014-2015.

“It went very well,” Staples coach Marce Petroccio said. “I don’t know how you can’t not participate in spring football; there is so much opportunity for teaching without having the pressure of getting ready for a game.

“We haven’t been to the playoffs in two years; it bothers us and the kids are working hard,” he added.

Many of the expected key contributors to the 2015 season were absent due to commitments from other sports, but one competitor who was in pads was quarterback Andrew Speed, who will be a junior in 2015-2016. Speed excelled for the freshman team before becoming the third option to graduated seniors Teddy Coogan and Trevor Shearer last year.

“He’s more of an option guy,” Petroccio said of his signal-caller. “He’s a guy that can beat you with his feet and he’s getting better and better each day with throwing. We’re excited for him.”

Staples will play nine regular season games instead of 10 this fall as the FCIAC voted to adjust the schedule to preserve both the conference championship game and the annual tradition of playing on Thanksgiving week. The Wreckers’ first game is slated for September 18 at home against Danbury.

“I want to do what’s best the kids and the community,” Petroccio said. “In the way it all shook it worked out for everyone. We couldn’t have 10 games and thanksgiving; one of the three had to go. It was one less game and it keeps the FCIAC title game.”

The Wreckers had their ninth annual golf outing at Longshore on Wednesday, and will be participating in a number of clinics over the summer to prepare for the season.