Stillman Valley begins state title defense - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Stillman Valley begins state title defense

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STILLMAN VALLEY (WREX) - Stillman Valley captured the 3A state title in a thrilling overtime victory last year. The Cardinals wear the title of defending champions, which carries plenty of extra pressure and they know the task is taller to get back down state.

"We have a really solid team but we're going to have a really big target on our backs, we usually have a big target on our back but we're gonna have a bigger one because we won state after all," says senior running back Micah Castronovo, who contributed to the 43-41 high-flying score in that championship clinching game at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

The Cardinals' seniors have big shoes to fill, and they're using the preseason to forge important bonds.

"We have to do a lot. We have to make this team a brotherhood like last year, the seniors taught us everything they knew so we just gotta pass that down," says senior fullback/linebacker Mark Stokes.

The man in charge echoes those sentiments, ready to find a new team identity in 2014.

"What do you want your legacy to be?" says head coach Mike Lalor. "You throw out the wins and losses and it's more what style of play do you want people to remember you for, and how hard did you play, things like that I think are really the key to each and every group and leaving their own little legacy."

For more on Stillman Valley's new season as the defending state champion, click on the above video.

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