PECATONICA, Ill. (WIFR) Durand and Pecatonica combined for an historically bad 2016.
Both schools went 0-9 and the two teams combined were outscored on average 42-5 by opponents.
Now that they have combined forces to become the Rivermen, they are hoping that their large numbers can compete with the rest of the NUIC.
The co-op opens up its first season in Pecatonica with an okay test: defending 1A state champion Forreston.
Former Pec standout Tyler Hoffman takes over a program which crumbled under low numbers last year, but now boasts one of the biggest teams in the conference.
The new coaching staff is trying to teach the kids not to focus on the wins and losses.
"It has nothing to do with the wins or losses," said Hoffman. "We tell the guys that if they put in the work, the model we use is that it's not going to be easy to get from the right side of the column to the left side of the column being that neither team won a game last year. Certainly we have to put in the time and effort, but we do work on the details and the fundamentals and things like that, maybe more than they're used to but from that standpoint, they've done a great job of starting to realize exactly what that means when it works on details and along those lines."