Ten starters return to a Cochrane-Fountain City team that won its first Dairyland title since 2000, but a big one does not: Cale Lisowski.
A three-year all-conference starter at quarterback, Lisowski threw for 28 touchdowns last year and starred in the Small School WFCA All-Star Game this summer.
The Pirates will turn to a sophomore for the season opener against Pepin-Alma.
"So far it's been kind of difficult, I guess. But we're getting better," said senior lineman Christopher Hund.
"Win or lose against Pepin-Alma, we have to have a nice game plan to get him confident and let him roll the rest of the season because I think he's got the ability to turn some heads," said Pirates Head Coach Steve Lyga.
C-FC is motivated by an early exit from the postseason. They were the victims of a rare 8-seed over 1-seed upset in level one.
"This year we know that Independence is the favorite in our conference and now it's our turn to be the underdog and hopefully upset them. We're just going to work harder and harder everyday to see if we can pull that off," senior wide receiver/defensive back Brody Halverson said.
"We really want to beat [Independence] this year," said senior offensive lineman/linebacker Skylar Pozanc. "That's our main goal is just beat them and then call it good and then move on to the next game."