DIXON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Dixon has made the playoffs the last eight years, but they haven’t seen the second round since 2017. The Dukes will try and take the reigns of the Big Northern Conference with a big push forward this season.

Dixon is looking to build off a winning playoff season last year where they finished 6-4, tied for fourth in the conference. They lost to Rochelle in OT in the first round of the 4A playoffs.

“We’ve been consistent making the playoffs, now it’s time to be consistently winning playoff games,” said fourth-year head coach Jared Shaner.

Now as this season approaches, the Dukes have quite a few key pieces returning.

“I mean, we are a strong team, we just gotta keep pushing,” said senior running back Aiden Wiseman.

It starts with senior Tyler Shaner at quarterback. This will be his third year as the starting guy and there are high expectations for him. Last season he threw for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns with 56 percent passing.

“You know, last year as a junior, I think played well, certainly has improved in the offseason,” siad coach Shaner. “We have high expectations; he has high expectations from himself.”

The Dukes will run a spread offense again this year, split 50-50 between the run and pass game with all the talent they have. That includes Wiseman, along with junior wide receiver Cullen Shaner.

“We are faster than we’ve ever been before and we are also getting stronger at the same time,” said Tyler Shaner.

The offense will also see Eli Davidson back on the field leading their receiving core. He missed his sophomore season last year after tearing his ACL in week two.

“We are excited,” said coach Shaner. “He was our best player last year as a sophomore. Offensively, we’ve got to find a way to get him the ball you know multiple times a game and on the other side of the ball, he’s a really good defensive player.”

Davidson and Wiseman will also lead on the defensive side of the ball as inside linebackers. Defensive back Tyson Dambman and safety Landon Knigge will also be key in their defensive effort.

“We have a very strong d-line, and also me and Eli [Davidson] are playing linebacker, I like that,” said Wiseman. “Our safeties are both back, they are younger, but they can do it, and just our corners out there are strong too and I think our d-line will make a great push this year.”

Simply put, the Dukes have a lot of returning pieces that will make them sure-fire competition in the BNC.

“A lot of touchdowns, a lot of stops on defense, that’s really all I have,” said Tyler Shaner. “I think we are gonna be really good, actually I know that we are going to be really good.”

Dixon opens up their season on the road at Stillman Valley on Friday, August 25.