It's been a while since the Dixon Dukes got to celebrate a victory with their home fans – three full seasons, to be exact.
The Dukes hope to end that trend Friday night, when they host Monmouth-Roseville at 7:30 p.m. at A.C. Bowers Field.
"It would be pretty awesome to open the season with that win," senior Dan Troutman said. "It's been a long time."
"It would be really good to be the team that did that," senior Ryan Webb added, "and I think it would give us even more momentum for the rest of the season."
Dixon's last victory at A.C. Bowers Field came in Week 9 of the 2010 season, a 42-16 rout of Streator. It was the final game under coach Tony Agrimonti, and it ended the inaugural season of the Northern Illinois Big 12 West.
The Dukes have five wins since then, with all five coming on the road. They have opened and closed two of the last three seasons with victories away from home.
They hope to get out of the blocks with another 1-0 start this season, but realize the opponent coming in is hungry for revenge. Dixon handled the Titans in surprisingly easy fashion a year ago in Monmouth, dominating every phase of the game in a 36-14 victory.
"They're not happy with what happened last year at their place, and they're going to come in here and try to do to us what we did to them," Dixon coach Dave Smith said. "They'll be coming for us, and we'll have our hands full if we don't meet and exceed expectations."
With it being Week 1, and Monmouth-Roseville not being a familiar area opponent, the Dukes are going in somewhat blind. The Titans had high expectations a year ago, especially with all-state running back Martel Hunter, but underachieved in a 3-6 campaign.
Hunter is gone, but the Dukes expect a similar style and game plan.
"They run the same stuff, so we expect to see the same things," senior Quinton Douglas said. "If we keep doing what we've been doing in practice, and if we limit the turnovers and penalties, we should be fine."
Limiting mistakes is somewhat of a mantra this week for the Dukes, as Smith has pounded that into his players' heads each and every day.
He's also made a point of telling his players that last year's win doesn't mean anything when the ball is kicked off.
"They've gotten better, but we've gotten a lot better, too," Troutman said. "We'll come in prepared and ready for whatever they throw at us, and we'll handle it as well as we can."
The Dukes' focus is squarely on themselves, and they feel if they do their jobs, they can come out with a win.
"We're very confident, and all we're talking about is going out and winning this game," Webb said. "We want to make a point this week, let everybody know that Dixon football is back."
Monmouth-Roseville at Dixon
When: 7:30 p.m Friday
Where: A.C. Bowers Field
Radio: 1460 AM
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