Forreston ran the table on its way to a state championship last year. The Cardinals return a lot of key players from that team this year as they try to make it three titles in four years.
"We have to realize everyone is going to give us their best shot," head coach Denny Diduch said. "People are going to smack us in the face and we have to respond to that."
Forreston responded to every challenge placed in front of it last year. The Cardinals know the target will be on their back all season.
"We have to embrace it," senior quarterback Hunter Daws said. "We have to play at our best because we know teams are going to throw everything they have at us."
The players are confident they're up to the task.
"I think we handle great under pressure," senior tight end and linebacker Sam Barkalow said. "Being the big dogs, hey, we're alright with it."
Forreston begins its title defense on the road against the new Pecatonica-Durand co-op team.