ROXANA, IL – The Roxana Shells are a perfect 5-0 to begin their season.

Just two years ago, the Shells failed to win more than 2 games.

The difference?

“It’s been hard work and dedication,” Senior linebacker Evan Wells said. “This is what we’ve been working for, a conference championship. We’ve never experienced it. Nobody has experienced it since [we’ve been alive]. So, that’s what we’re working for.”

So far, the work is paying off, but the real test is still to come, facing conference-power Breese Central this weekend.

“They’ve been the top dogs in the conference ever since we got into the conference,” Senior running back Terrel Graves said. “We’re 0-2 against them, but this is our year to get them back. We have a good team. We can play with them.”

Regardless of the result, Roxana Head Coach Wade DeVries says the ability to compete in a 3A conference that’s produced top playoff competitors is a great way to prepare for the postseason.

“This league is very competitive,” Coach DeVries said. “If we are able to compete in this league then, when we compete in the 3A playoffs, we are going to have an opportunity to win playoff games. That is, ultimately, the goal of our program.”

Coach and his players admitted their focus is solely on this week, taking a day-to-day approach to growth and development. Their next opportunity to showcase that development is Friday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m. when the Shells face off against the Breese Central Cougars.