TYLER, Texas (KETK) — As the Chapel Hill Bulldogs took the practice field Monday morning, they shed their underdog moniker and embraced the role of the hunted.

“We like the high expectation, you know pressure creates diamonds, and we’re ready for it,” said head coach Jeff Riordan. “These guys have worked all offseason and summer with a chip on their shoulder, with a target on their back, we’re not sneaking up on anybody anymore.”

The Dogs have an excellent mix of leadership from seniors such as Tyson Berry, alongside the emergence of their now sophomore quarterback, Demetrius Brisbon, whose dynamic play makes Chapel Hill one of the most prolific offenses in the state.

“I’m excited because I know we are going to be on top, but at the end of the day that was last year, we’re not worried about that,” said Brisbon. “This year we’re worried about getting to state, and winning.”

“I ain’t going to lie, it’s amazing, because we did go far last year, but that’s last year, so we really can’t live off that,” said Berry.

But while their focus is on the future, the team is fueled by their state semifinal loss to Austin LBJ, falling in just the final nine seconds of the game.

“We were nine seconds away from a state championship last year, and we’re just trying to find that nine seconds plus one all offseason and summer to get us to that point,” said Riordan. “I think anything less than that for us is going to be a disappointment, but we’ve still got to live up to that expectation.”

The journey begins now, battling through one of the best districts in Texas and hopefully finding those lost nine seconds between the Bulldogs and AT&T Stadium.