The Collinsville Pirates are back on the field with a bit more youth, primarily on the lines, than in the previous years.
"We're just a young team, but hopefully we can go far this year," Collinsville senior Daniel Castorena said.
"It feels pretty good (to be back)," Collinsville senior Gustavo Romo said. "We've been working hard all summer, trying to go farther than we did last year."
The swashbucklers are coming off a second straight trip to the area round of the playoffs, but this year, they want to win that second gold ball.
"We just need hard work and for people to show up to practices, just give it all their best," Castorena said.
"We've got to break that barrier, we've got to make it there and then break that barrier," Collinsville Head Coach Dale West said. "We've got high expectations. Our backfield is made of all returning starters from last year. They've got potential to be really good and one of the best backfields I've coached."
And as the Pirates keep winning, the chin pillow will just keep growing.
"We made a bet that I wouldn't shave until we lost a game," West said. "Hopefully it gets down to my belly button and we'll be in good shape."
Giving Collinsville a little something extra to comb through in the opener against Sacred Heart.
"It's just building relationships with kids," West said. "When you start to have lunch with them and spending more time outside of football, you get to know them a little better. You build the relationship so you can do the little things like that. It doesn't mean anything to anyone else, but it's kind of special to us."
"Yea, I mean he already looks a little funny," Romo said. "It'll probably look even better when it's longer."