Last year was one of those kind of years that just doesn't come around very often, no matter who you are.  The kind of season where you know from day one, that you are without question, the best team in your; conference, league, division, area, etc.  That's how it was for the Apollo Eagles last season.

Apollo was undefeated in the Central Lakes Conference (18-0), finished with an overall record of 25-5, and looked to be headed towards a possible state championship - before it all came apart for them in the second half against Orono, a state quarter final game that they should have won, but didn't.

How do the Eagles forget about that loss and move forward?  Try, with five new starters in the line-up.  The Eagles will be much younger and less experienced, but still very talented.  It will be interesting to see how this year's Eagles respond to having a great big target on their back every night.  I certainly do not expect another undefeated season in conference play, but I don't expect many losses, period.  How Coach Kessler's squad matures and develops during the regular season, will determine how far they go, come tournament time.

Then again - this just might be the year for the ROCORI Spartans.  Most of the team is still flying high from winning a state football title two weeks ago - but Coach Brink will whip his Spartans into shape by Christmas, for sure.  They have the conference's best player, by far, in junior, Jonah Eisenshank - and three other starters return, as well.  The Spartans will "D" up most of their opponents this year, and if they get any consistency from the perimeter, the sky is the limit.

St. Cloud Tech is looking to have a bounce back year, after finishing 4th in the conference last year, and finishing with an overall losing record.  Little Falls will once again be, tough, smart, and perimeter oriented.  Alexandria will be somewhere in the fray of things as well.  Willmar was looking good with three weeks to go last year, and then promptly lost their last six games of the season.

The rest of the teams in the conference (Brainerd, Fergus Falls, Sartell-St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids-Rice) will all need to improve a lot, to make much of an impact this season.  SR-R only won one game all of last year.

Don't miss a big conference game this Friday night!  It's ROCORI at Alexandria - pregame at 7:20, tip off at 7:30pm - on AM 1390 The Fan.