Ten wins a season ago for Mater Dei marked ten winning seasons in the last 11 years for the Wildcats. Along the journey of succes, Mater Dei claimed their 21st sectional title in program history.
"It was a great team with great camaraderie, great leadership and really very good athletes," said Mater Dei head football coach Mike Goebel. "Quite a few of those guys made all state and also played varsity for three years so by the time they got to be seniors they were pretty seasoned."
"We just had great team chemistry," said Mater Dei Senior Alex Money. "We always went with confidence every game. We knew every team was good but we knew we could play with anyone and we still have that mindset just as Mater Dei. We've always had a tradition of playing hard and even when we're undersized we just go out there and hit."
With two new schools joining the SIAC, that means that Mater Dei will continue to be the only 2A school in the conference, something the Wildcats welcome believing a beefed up schedule prepares them for postseason play.
"We're playing some great teams like Reitz, Castle, Central, every team out there," said Money. "They're bigger than us, they're stronger, and it makes us just that much better for sectionals and further on."
That's definitely a big factor," said Mater Dei Senior Landen Folz. "Definitely playing the faster and bigger teams gets us prepared for sectionals."
For Mater Dei to replicate its success from last year, the team will have to rely on younger players stepping up as they return just 8 starters from last year's team.
"The older guys showed great hard work and hustle, so we're just trying to show the younger guys how we did things out here last year," said Folz.
"Obviously we lost a lot but they were with us last year," said Money. "They saw everything they saw how we worked, they saw what we did and they just kind of fell into place they know what they're doing they're learning the plays and everything's fitting together nicely."