EL DORADO HILLS - Last season, the Oak Ridge Trojans went 12-2 and made an appearance in the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section Championship, where they fell to the powerhouse Folsom Bulldogs 49-17.
They accomplished all of that with under Ian Book, a sophomore quarterback who took the reins and gained national attention. He's ranked among the top juniors in the nation after throwing over 2,500 passing yards, tossing 30 touchdowns and completing 60 percent of his passes.
ESPN listed Book as the 135th of the top 300 players in the nation and he already has a college offer from Idaho, before even playing a game of his junior season.
Despite the success last season, the Trojans are hungry for more. They're eager to get redemption for the title game loss to their rivals - the Bulldogs. They'll get that opportunity during the last game of the season on Oct. 31 during the final game of the regular season, on the smurf turf at Folsom High School.
"It left a bitter taste in our mouth," said senior tight end Ryan Sullivan about the loss to Folsom. "That's been the motivation. We take it week by week and day by day, but Folsom is always in the back or minds.
Last season's loss to Folsom was the second straight season of making it to the Section Championship, only to fall short. In 2012, they lost to Granite Bay, who went on to win a State Bowl game.
"It definitely sets an expectation for the next group coming in," said head coach Eric Cavaliere of the last two seasons.
Cavaliere was quick to note that while the team is using the loss to Folsom as motivation, they aren't looking ahead. Their Sierra Foothill League is one of the most lethal in the state and is as tough as ever with Folsom, Del Oro, Granite Bay, Rocklin, Nevada Union and Woodcreek.
A simple approach, but certainly proven in the Trojans' program - improve upon each week and build upon the success.
Ian's brother, Nolan Book comes into his senior season captaining an young, but improved and stout defense ready to show the rest of the Sierra Foothill League that they intend to make another deep playoff run. Nolan is one of 18 seniors returning and Cavaliere is hoping the younger players and those returning seniors can come together quickly and establish a cohesive bond.
As a quarterback, Book comes into the season only eight pounds bigger and said he's hoping to get to his goal of 185 pounds. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for in accuracy and arm strength. He's even looking to show people his new quickness and increased mobility, as a dual threat quarterback - his main individual goal for this season.
"It's go time now," Book said, as they prepare to open the season on Friday against Whitney. "We're all excited and we can't wait to start these weekly grinds."
Follow Sean Cunningham on Twitter: @News10Sean