"The thing about last year, it's over."
That's the mindset of Jim Garfield's Rider Raiders, in a nutshell: The past is in the past.
Garfield told us, "We've got a new motto this year: 'Pay the Price.' We've got to go to the bank, we've got to take care of business this year."
"We made the fifth round and we lost, but this is a new year," said senior wide receiver and sometimes quarterback Davon Allison. "And we're gonna try to get past the fifth round, hopefully to State."
"From last year, seeing how far we went, we're determined to go to State now," said senior running back Carlos Fleeks.
One of the key leaders for the Raiders is senior quarterback Chase London. The big lefty came in last year after star J.T. Barrett went down with a knee injury, and led the Raiders to the state semifinals.
"Chase, you know, he's the guy that got us through it last year," Coach Garfield said. "He's going to be the starter. He's throwing the ball really well right now, you know, and the thing he's gotten better at is being a leader of his group, being a leader of his team."
"He's grown a lot," agreed Allison, who splits time as London's backup and favorite target. "A lot of experience in the playoffs, we practiced a lot this year after practice, throwing the ball around."
In addition to the dynamic spread offense led by London, of course the Raiders are also known for the single-wing, or as they like to call it, The Box.
"It's more like a, 'get that first down' type of offense," said senior running back Josh Price. "Like, mandatory. If we can get in there in that box, we're gonna go get that first down."
Another calling card for the Raiders under Coach Garfield is their tough defense, which returns six starters from 2012.
"We've got a lot of kids back from last year," Garfield said. "You know, having the maturity there helps the young guys out quite a bit."
The defense provides a good test for the offense during the week in practice.
"They make us work hard," says Fleeks. "The defense out there, Gar pushes them hard, and that makes us get better."
"Every single day the defense comes out hard," Price agreed. "Offense has to come out hard, too. A better defense makes a good offense."