BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Belvidere Bucs remain focused on rebuilding the program after another disappointing season last year, and these football players are determined to get this team back on the map.

Toughness, pride, and determination.

Those are the three words head coach Tony Ambrogio would use to describe his Bucs this year.

“We are in a blue-collar town, blue-collar mentality,” said Ambrogio. “We gotta come to work and we gotta grind.”

And these guys have been grinding all summer, putting in the work to get better after a winless 2022 season.

“As long as these kids are here every day, and they listen…they have really put in a lot of work this season, so hopefully we got that going for us,” said senior quarterback Gunnar Vuorenmaa.

The senior class remains positive about their final ride with the Bucs.

“I think we’ll have a great season this year, probably win some more games, not like last year,” said senior wide receiver Jason Dean.

Belvidere has had one goal in mind from day one, and that’s to be able to actually compete in the NIC-10 conference.

“If we can go into every game and we can compete in the games or in the conference, then we are hoping we can get some games,” said Ambrogio.

That’s the mentality across the board for this team. A win for them this season would come as no surprise.

“Definitely gotta get some wins under our belt, I’d like to end my senior year with a bang,” said Vuorenmaa.

Vuorenmaa is going to play another big role with this offense in his final year, as the Bucs try and get a win on the board.

“We are starting to rebuild an o-line, that’s going good for us,” said Vuorenmaa. “We’ve got a pretty good receiver core and now we have two returning varsity quarterbacks and I think offensively, we’ve got a lot going for us.”

Trey Williams is the other returning quarterback, and Dean will lead the receiving room this year.

“He’s had two nice years with us and now coming into his senior year, we are expecting a lot out of him,” said Ambrogio on his key offensive weapon in Dean.

When you see the Bucs’ offense this year, Vuorenmaa and Dean will be the dynamic duo trying to get some points on the board.

“He’s just always been athletic, he’s always fun to play with,” said Vuorenmaa. “Hopefully, this season, we’ll do some things with me and him and see if we can get really get the offense going.”

The 2023 season is shaping up to be another step in the right direction for the purple and gold.

“You know, we are here building the program up and they are going to be part of it, this is going to be their legacy,” said Ambrogio.

Belvidere opens their season Thursday, August 24 at home against Guilford.