After years of starving to win a playoff game, Lafayette's football program finally tasted success with two post-season victories in 2010 and again last fall.
While Coach Carl Hayden is glad the Generals now know what it's like to walk off the field in November smiling, he doesn't want them to feel too proud of themselves.
"I want them to stay hungry," Hayden said. "I don't want them to feel that getting to the third round of the playoffs is good enough.
"I want them to take another step forward. I want them to go to the next level."
Hayden need not worry.
Lafayette senior leader Justin Carr sounds like he's famished for football.
"I'm ready to go right now," he said earlier this week. "It's not hard to stay hungry. As a team, we're all hungry.
"We're not satisfied with making it to the third round of the playoffs. We want to go even farther this year."
Hayden is counting on Carr and his "D" crew to help carry Lafayette there.
"I'm really excited about our defense," Hayden said.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Carr was in on a team-high 153 tackles last year. He returns at linebacker, along with T.J. Broadus and Drew Horseman.
Devin Clay and Mike Moaga are back on the defensive line. Kylan Nelson and Nick Lincavage bring athleticism and experience to the secondary.
"Our defense is really complete," Carr said. "There's no weakness. We pick each other up, and we all trust each other to make plays."
Lafayette's offense will rely on several people to replace the graduated running back Bubba Johnson, who accounted for more than 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Garrett Peavler will be at quarterback. He split time there last year and threw for 698 yards and three TDs. He has two top-notch senior receivers in Tranard Chester and Darius Hughes.
The 6-3 Chester had 30 catches for 678 yards and three TDs last fall. Hughes had 26 receptions for 301 yards and two scores.
Kylan Nelson, a talented junior, figures to be the featured running back and kick returner. He had 785 all-purpose yards as a sophomore.
"Kylan can fill the spot," Peavler said. "Bubba was more power hitting the hole; Kylan has more speed and gets to the outside.
"Then we have a couple great receivers (Chester and Hughes), and it's always a big help when you can throw the ball down the field."
The offensive line will include veterans Moaga, Caleb Clemons and Tanner Graves.
Nathan Gillespie will give the Generals a boost with his foot. He kicked three field goals and converted 26 of 31 extra points last year.
Lafayette still has to find some depth, a task that most teams have to address this time of year. But overall, the outlook is bright for the Generals, who have had a winning record 10 years in a row, the longest streak for any public school in town.
Still, Hayden doesn't want his players to feel too good about themselves.
"Last summer we were pretty much undefeated in 7-on-7, but we took some lumps this summer," he said.
"That's good. We've got to keep these kids humble. They need to realize other teams are out there working just as hard or harder, so they have to turn it up."
That's why Hayden wants his Generals to play the hunger game.
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com