After a trip to the semifinals last year, Southeast of Saline had a lot to prove this season.

"Guys definitely came to play this year," Trojans senior linebacker Mac Chambers said. "We've had a lot of seniors this year that didn't get a lot of playing time last year step up this year, and just really show out."

New to Class 2A this year, Southeast fell 37-16 to eventual state champion Andale in the 3A semifinals a season ago. 

After graduating a core group of seniors, the Trojans needed to rebuild amid reclassifying.

"We've been pretty lucky over the years to have good leaders and when the season started, we weren't 100% sure that we would have the leadership that we needed to win some games, and we really feel like these kids have stepped up," Trojans head coach Mitch Gebhardt said.

Cruising to a 10-0 record, the Trojans have solidified themselves as a major contender this season.

"It's special. We get along really well," Trojans senior quarterback Mitch Gebhardt said. "We've been pretty good the last couple years and we want to keep on going with that and keep on advancing."

For the first time with Gebhardt at the helm, the Trojans (10-0) go up against Hoisington (8-2) in this year's sectionals.

"Last year we fell short of the state championship. This year we're just trying to get there," Trojans junior running back Nathan Friesen said. "We gotta get past Hoisington. They're a decent team. We just got to do our best." 

Mitch Gebhardt added, "Hoisington's traditionally very, very good and they're coached well, and we gotta bring our best game to play them. They run the ball very, very well. They play great defense. So we're gonna have to be playing at a high level on Friday."

With only two losses in the last two seasons, expectations are high for Southeast, as the Trojans look to continue their dominance.

"It would mean everything to me," Chambers said. "We've been working hard, doing everything to get to this moment right here."