When you're district champion, every team wants to dethrone you. So to continue its success, the Rankin Red Devils knew they had to hit the ground running.
"We knew that there was going to be a target on our backs, we were district champions last year. And we're just hoping to bring that back."
Helping bring back the glory is new head coach Kevin Ray, who reloads a squad hit heavy by seniors graduating.
"It doesn't matter. We graduated a real good group, but we're still expecting to do well if not better than last year."
"We've been working hard since that last game we played. We knew that we were losing people from the start. So right away we started hitting the weight room running."
Stepping up to fill the void is linebacker Aaron Castillo, whose intensity is as good as any in Division One Six man ball.
"He brings a lot of energy. A lot of passion to the game which is what you really need in the game of football and he's just a real excitable player -- he's a good leader."
To repeat and advance further, the Red Devils look to their motto acronym: Tough people win.
"People get hurt. People get hit. So, whenever you're tough and whenever you fight through your tiredness, you win. The person who's willing to die out on the field, is going to win."
Reporting from Rankin, Matthew Villanueva, Big 2 Sports.