Last season, Shoreham-Wading River set the bar high for future Wildcats teams, particularly on defense.
The Wildcats went 12-0 and won the program's first Class IV Long Island Championship, allowing a Long Island-low 4.9 points per game in the process.
Duplicating this success may not be easy, but a unit led by junior defensive end Ethan Wiederkehr looks to be up to the challenge.
"It's going to be tough but we're putting in a lot of work," said Wiederkehr, who is 6-6 and 270 pounds. He made 64 tackles and had three sacks last season and was named to Newsday's All-Long Island second team.
"We lost a lot of great players, but we've got some good ones filling in, and we hope to do the same thing this year," added Wiederkehr, who also plays tight end.
"Watching him develop physically and mentally and as a leader of this group has been great," Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser said of Wiederkehr. "He's a good kid, he works hard in the classroom, works hard in the weight room, and it's nice for a kid like that to get some spotlight."
As for the defense as a whole, Millheiser said part of what makes it so good is that "nobody is looking to be a superstar . . .They just focus on doing their jobs."
The Wildcats run a 4-4 defense and Millheiser said the scheme is "not that complicated. We try to keep it simple, put them in the right spot and let them go play football."
The approach paid dividends in 2014, as Shoreham-Wading River shut out five opponents and allowed a double-digit point total only three times.
This season, Wiederkehr will be joined on the defensive line by Dalten Stalzer, Ryan Letscher and Jimmy Puckey. The players lining up behind them include linebacker Will Loper and defensive backs Chris Rosati and Jason Curran.
"The key to our success is everyone flying to the ball at full speed," said Curran, who made four interceptions in 2014. Curran is also slated to start at quarterback, taking the reins of an offense that scored 38.3 points per game last season. "That really can't replace anything. As long as we're all hustling, we'll shut them down."
"We want to keep our defense how it was, keep it rolling," said Rosati, who made 64 tackles and had three sacks and an interception last year. He also starts at running back, scoring 11 touchdowns.
Added Rosati: "when people get in our end zone, we really don't like that."
That may not be something the Wildcats have to deal with often this season.