ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Guilford hasn’t had a winning season in football since 2013, but there’s a very positive vibe surrounding the Vikings this year.
Tony Capriotti is coming into his second season as Guilford head coach more prepared and ready for the competition in the NIC-10.
“If you’re a varsity team or any team in the NIC-10 you better be ready to play that night because I think there’s a lot of teams that anybody could come out on top,” said Capriotti.
But for the Vikings, the focus remains on what they can control and do to continue improving after last season’s 2-7 finish.
For senior De’Vion Black he can feel the intensity in practice, there’s a different level of energy this year.
“I can’t explain it because it’s just different, different from the four years I’ve been here, so I like that,” said Black.
De’Vion is going to be one of the key impact players on both sides of the ball this season for Guilford.
“I’m just going to do what I have to at that running back position, linebacker, wherever I need to just to win the game,” said Black on his role this season.
The offense is rebounding after last season. A lot of the production this year will come from running backs Jayvon Jones and Jordan Woods.
But if there is one thing to know about this team, do not sleep on the o-line. Coach Capriotti played as an offensive lineman, so it comes as no surprise that unit led by Gannon Bucker and O’Ryan Robinson is going to be dangerous.
“If I had to pick one group that I think will lead us, it’ll be our linemen, they are definitely the strength of the team,” said Capriotti.
And the rest of the team can agree.
“Going up against the o-line is scary this year,” said Black.
And the potential for future success is there. Over 100 kids are playing in the Guildford program this year, which is the largest group in nearly ten years. It’s huge for coach Capriotti as he continues to rebuild the culture at Guilford.
“As we get more kids involved, they talk to more kids, more families involved. Everybody is just more excited to be here.”