PECATONICA, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)– The rise of Du-Pec’s football team in recent years has been something to see. Last year the Rivermen took another step by winning the NUIC. So, can that arrow keep pointing up this season?

The Rivermen have strung together three straight winning seasons. Last season they even knocked off Forreston and Lena-Winslow on their way to the conference title. Can these team follow in the footsteps of that team?

“It depends on how hard we work and what we do on the field and off the field and in the weight room…grades,” said senior running back/safety A.J. Mulcahy.

“The expectations are just getting better and better,” said head coach Tyler Hoffman. “Obviously, we have some things that have eluded us. We’d like to get past the second round of the playoffs.”

There are big shoes to fill. Gone from last year’s team are Bo Seaton, Trenton Taylor, Jake Anderson, Trent Hetland, Drake Fortson and of course record-setting quarterback Hunter Hoffman. So, who plays quarterback this year? Will it be Hunter’s younger brother Cooper, or senior Will Howard?

“We’re not quite sure yet to be honest with you,” said coach Hoffman. Both of them have had a really good summer. We’re going to kind of let that play out over the next two weeks.

“We have two really good quarterbacks,” said Mulcahy. Cooper is young. He’s still got two more years, three more years, and then Will, Will’s got a cannon.”

“Hunter’s a big loss, and it’s big shoes to fill, but we’ve been putting in work in the offseason,” said Howard. “I’m not going to say I’m up to his standards or whatever, but I’m going to try my best.”

Du-Pec will still strive for balance on offense. The passing game isn’t going away. When the Rivermen run the ball, well, Mulcahy could be ready for a breakout season.

“It would mean the world to me to go out here and just win every game. I’ve always been a winner my whole life.”

Jaylen Noud, Nathan Folk, Drew Williams and Max Milbrath are some of Du-Pec’s receivers. On the lines Briaun Green, Kaden Degner, Tyler Lucas and Max Rossow return.

“We lack some depth there,” said Hoffman, “But what we bring from a starting standpoint, I like what we have there.

“I think we’ve got a lot of talent,” said Howard, “This group, we just keep reloading and keep reloading with talent, so I think we’ll be good.”