BISMARCK, N.D. - Defending state champions usually have a hard time with that term because they don't get to defend the title with the same talent.
I'm sure Mark Gibson would agree. Gibson is the head football coach of the Bismarck Demons.
The Demons went undefeated on their way to winning the Triple-A state Championship in 2018. BHS returns a handful of players that started last season.
"It's their time. They waited in the wins and they, you know, one thing for us, fortunately, a lot of these kids got to play last year because of the scores, and, you know, they have some sort of experience just not as a starter. It's different animal when you're the guy rather than being a guy coming in and doing mop up, but, you know, you just hope that those kids learn from what they saw and keep moving forward," said Gibson.
Bismarck will have a new starting quarterback, senior Kade Rohlfs.
"The one thing is he's going to make mistakes. I mean, we are going to as coaches have to be patient and he's going to have to be patient, and, you know, hopefully our fans are patient so he's not going to be perfect, Will Madler wasn't perfect," said Gibson.
Madler may not have been perfect but he was the 2018 Gatorade player of the year, making Will the ideal mentor for Rohlfs.
"He was a great leader, three year starter. I mean, I'm not going to be a Will Madler, I know that, but I mean he was a terrific quarterback just on and off the field getting to know him and he's trained me really good, I really looked up to him a lot," said Rohlfs.
Gibson has a few more days to decide the rest of the starting roster, but he plans to use the first two non-conference games to evaluate his teams talent.
"Really challenging, I think that's the one thing I think that's going to be the glaring thing that we are going to see early on is especially against a seasoned team like Sheyenne, you know, who turns a lot of guys and were very close to being in the state championship last year, and so we are going to find out in a hurry what we are made of by the time Williston rolls around first conference game we want top be getting an idea of where we are going to put guys," said Gibson.
After Sheyenne at the Bismarck Community Bowl on Friday, Bismarck's first road game is next week at Grand Forks Red River.
The Demons open the conference against the Coyotes and they close it against rival Century on October 25.