ROCHELLE, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Fans of the Rochelle Hubs had a lot to get excited about last season when the Hubs won nine games including a pair of playoff games in Class 4A. That momentum could very well carry over into this season.

“We’re really excited for everything. We’re ready to play already,” said Rochelle senior tight end/linebacker Brock Metzger.

That’s what happens when a team gets a good taste of success. The Hubs got it last year, and they want more.

“We’re operating with quite a few kids coming back,” said head coach Kyle Kissack. “Our senior class, we’ve got some really talented players there too. We’re excited about what the 2023 season could be.”

The Hubs have four starters back in their Wing T offense and five starters back on defense. That group of guys along with the others who will step in will aim to keep Rochelle’s tradition of ground-and-pound offense and physical defense on target.

“The identity of the program really matches the identity of our community,” said Kissack.

On offense, the Hubs lost their top running back Garrett Gensler. All he did last season was rush for more than 1700 yards and 29 touchdowns, but his younger brother Grant is ready to roll at tailback. Junior Erich Metzger, who rushed for 793 yards last season is back, and the Hubs have a committee of guys ready to go at wingback.

“Grant Gensler is a stud,” said Brock Metzger. “Erich Metzger is a stud, and my brother Brode, he’s a sophomore. He’s going to be playing wing. He’s a stud too.”

Junior Carson Lewis takes over at quarterback to distribute the ball to those running backs. Up front the Hubs graduated three linemen, but first team all-conference guard Kaiden Morris is back and so is 6’8, 350-pound Landon Mickley who’s worked to improve his technique.

“Definitely just form, form is a big key being a lineman. Strength is definitely a big key,” said Mickley, “but I feel like if you have good form, strength will definitely just boost everything else.”

Mickley and Morris will also be big on the defensive front, and Kissack is high on his linebackers led by last year’s leading tackler senior Brock Metzger a first team all-conference pick.

“We’re excited about what Brock can bring not only in his physicality and having a nose for the football, but his leadership. He’s really risen into that role and will be the captain of the defense.”