Don Bigley and Pittsfield will try to make a statement in their final year of West Central Conference play.
PITTSFIELD, Il. (WGEM) -- Head coach Don Bigley and Pittsfield-Griggsville Perry are getting set to play their final season in the West Central Conference, making 2013 the last run against several traditional rivals.
With 18 seniors on the roster, it could be the best chance yet to make an imprint against another brutal schedule.
"Ever since our freshman year we've been dreaming about this day, coming out here playing football as seniors," said senior linebacker Kenny Little.
"The last three years we haven't made the playoffs, so it's really big in our final year to get those wins and make it into the playoffs."
"We've developed a pretty good rivalry with Illini West, even though we haven't beat them yet," Don Bigley added, when being asked about his final season in the WCC.
"We've got QND back on the schedule this year, which as a school is our major rival. QND and Pittsfield, you put them together and you can throw the records out the door."
Pittsfield returns a large part of a (3-6) team from 2012, minus 1,400 yard rusher Zach Abney.
The Saukees will have to make up for that production with balance on offense, and it starts versatile quarterback Wayde Smith and bruising fullback Isaac Whitaker.
"I'm going to have to fill a huge role, or try to at least," Whitaker told WGEM Sports.
"We're going to run the ball and pass because Wayde is a good quarterback, so we're going to be doing a lot this year on offense."
"This year we've got to spread it around a little bit," Bigley added.
"Isaac Whitaker will be our feature back, he's going to get it about 20 times a game, and Wayde Smith runs the ball very, very well."
Defense should be a strength, with exceptional size up front and athletic ability on the back end.
"We're going to hit people hard, and I think after the games they're going to know that they played Pittsfield-Griggsville Perry," said Whitaker.
"Coach has made a few tweaks," Little added.
"Moving me to outside and Ike to middle, and we've all picked up on it pretty well."
"Our kids like to hit," said Bigley.
"That's part of what's expected of them and we hope to continue that tradition on again this year."
"In a unique and challenging scheduling twist, the Saukees will play a home and away series during the regular season against both Illini West and Macomb.
The outcome in those contests could be what ultimately decides the playoff fate of Don Bigley's team, and the challenge starts right out of the gate.
Week one will feature a showdown between Pittsfield and Illini West at Fuzz Berges Field in Carthage.