Playing in the shadow of the Imperial Valley airport, the Imperial Tigers football team has sky high expectations.
After losing the league title game to Brawley last year, the red and black are looking to take their game to the next level.
Returning 28 seniors, head coach Kerry Legarra is excited about his team's chances of bringing a championship back to tiger country.
"If we can stay healthy, I think we can be right there in it,” says Legarra. “I think the league this year is going to be tougher than it ever has been since we've been in it, but I think we can be right in the running for it.”
And that run that will rely heavily on senior running back Royce Freeman.
Freeman rushed for more than 2400 yards and 34 touchdowns last season, and has already committed to joining the Oregon Ducks next season.
The 6-foot, 227 pound back says he is excited about his squad, and hopes to build on a junior season when he was named the Imperial Valley League Offensive Player of the Year.
"Just going as far as we can,” says Freeman. The sky’s the limit, so I’m just trying to excel and make everybody better before all of the seniors leave."
While there is little doubt the team will have a strong ground game, coach Legarra says it is the wide range of talent the team has on both sides of the ball that will surprise people.
"People think we just have Royce, but we have a lot more weapons than just Royce."
That includes senior wide out Dajon Staton.
"He’s the biggest surprise; he came back so much bigger, so much stronger,” says Legarra.
Defensively, Legarra is looking for experienced seniors to solidify his 3-3-5 defensive scheme, a strategy he first developed while under the tutelage of current Arizona State head coach Todd Graham.
"A lot of the young men that were here last year, are really picking up the scheme better, because last year was the first year we implemented it. They are learning it better, there’s more enthusiasm, there’s more senior leadership."
The tigers were one game away from a championship in 2012, and the entire team, and community, believes this year’s team has the chance to capture their second league title in four years.