QUINCY, IL. (WGEM) -- Rick Little's concentration level is strictly on the season in front of him.
But that doesn't mean the Quincy High School football coach has forgotten about last year's gut-punching first round playoff loss to Willowbrook.
"Last year we had a great year. Not to dwell on negatives but we were so close to making that second round (playoff) appearance and potentially that third round appearance," Little said.
"There's no doubt about it if you want to get me fired up we can start talking about that."
As they attempt to earn a postseason berth for the fifth consecutive season the reigning Western Big 6 champs are moving forward with an offense anchored by highly coveted college recruit and junior running back Jirehl Brock.
"It's just a great feeling when he gets a gap, hits the hole, and he just busts for 30 yards," senior lineman Owen Shelton said.
According to Little, "We will get creative with him and use him in different ways. But we feel like we have other really good players too, that are then really going to take advantage of that spotlight, and that focus that's on him from a defense stand point."
At quarterback there's a two-way race for the starting role between Logan Ross and Donovan Prost. Other offensive weapons litter the Blue Devils roster including Aaron Shoot, Jake Kelley, and Adonte Crider.
"We have two other great running backs in the backfield as well that can make things happen," Brock indicated.
"(If opponents) focus on me they're going to have a breakout day. They can focus on me but we have other ways to hit teams, too."
Little expects a number of players to get their chance this fall.
"I love when these guys get the opportunity, wait in the wings, and take advantage of it," he said.
The defense has question marks but fearless linebacker Brock Baird provides an exclamation point.
"I've kind of developed a new outlook on life, at the point of maximum danger there's minimum fear," Baird said.
Little says there's no question who leads his defense.
"Brock's got a great motor. He's a tough guy, he understands the position, and he wants to be great at it," Little said.
"You got a guy like that to build around it's a great place to start."
According to Baird, "We're looking at a great defense this year. We have a strong line (and) we're trying to get our defensive backs figured out, and our linebackers are looking strong."
If the defense plays to its potential the Blue Devils have a legitimate chance to play in November.
"We can move the ball," Brock said.
"But defensively is where we struggled last year and that's where we're going to have to be great this year."