The Stillman Valley Cardinals has enjoyed tremendous success under head coach Mike Lalor, winning five IHSA state championships between 1999 and 2013. However, the team's last playoff win was that 2013 title game, and in 2016, they're hoping to return to the postseason.
The Cardinals have won just six games total in the last two seasons combined, and as practices continue with the season opener right around the corner, there's a rejuvenated sense of energy and a sense of a clean slate for Stillman.
"Persistent. I would say that we're definitely persistent, we won't give up and we'll give everything we have," says senior Nolan McNames, describing his fellow four-year teammates.
"More than anything, I hope we're known for being a hard-working team," says Coach Lalor. "They put forward a really good effort and they're very coachable. When those things happen, if you continue that over the course of a season, you have a chance to develop into a pretty good club."
Stillman Valley sees itself as a player in a reshuffled Big Northern, and their journey back to the IHSA playoffs begins next Friday on August 26 at North Boone.