"We don't expect any letup," says senior quarterback Thomas Fox. "We're looking to keep going with what we've been building here in Stockton and just keep rolling."
Reciver Sam VenHuizen agrees. "I think we can. We've done that. People didn't expect that much of us last year I don't think, so we can do it again this year."
The Blackhawks don't have a lot of numbers or depth, but they do have a very talented senior class. Some of these seniors were key players on Stockton's team two years ago that played for a State Championship. Fox was the starting quarterback in that game. He moves back to quarterback this year now that his brother Jordan has graduated.
"I'm looking forward to it," says Fox of the return to the quarterback position. "Last year was a little bit of a break from quarterback, but it's fun to be back."
"It's going to be a little bit different type of team than what we've had, but I think there's a lot of talent there that can definitely compete for a conference championship," says head coach Chris Thornton.
The Blackhawks might be a little more balanced on offense this year. They don't have a feature running back comparable to Colton Broshous last year or T.J. Knutson the year before.
"We've got a few good running backs this year, but then we'll air it out a little bit more," says VenHuizen.
"We're mixing it up a little bit," says Fox.
The key to the Blackhawks' season will be on the line where they're smaller then last year, and they've lost All-State player Ty Harmston. He's now at NIU.
"You don't lose a D-1 kid like that at a small school and don't feel the impace of that, and we lost basically the interior part of our line, so our young linemen need to step up," says Thornton. "We've got a lot of juniors that are going to be playing a major role. If they can step up and play the physical style of football that we expect here we'll be alright."