The Hardaway Hawks know they won't have the element of surprise on their side in the 2014 baseball season after sneaking up on everyone and winning the 1-AAAAA title last season.
Head coach Chris Gilstrap says he has had to humble his guys a couple times to remind them nothing will be handed to them this year.
"I tell them all the time, we're not just going to show up and win another region championship," Gilstrap said. "It's going to be something we work for, and we're going to have to play our butts off every single game and practice hard every day."
For this year's seniors, another region championship isn't enough.
"This year, we know we have a big target on our backs," said senior catcher Josh Anthony. "All the boys out here, we have heart, and we're trying to make it further than we did last year."
With the graduation of several key seniors, Gilstrap knows the Hawks are young, but he's confident.
"It's a solid team, but a little younger team," he said. "We have a very good nucleus, good core, that returned, but we do have some spots to fill and some young guys that just don't have that game experience yet."
Some of the experience is Anthony behind the plate, and senior first baseman Blake Meadows, who figures to be a fixture in the middle of the Hawks' lineup. With him, Meadows and the rest of the seniors guiding the underclassmen, the team has a certain closeness.
"This year I feel like we're one big family," Anthony said. "Coach Gilstrap, that's Papa Bear. We do what he says, and we just take each other under each other's arms and we make sure everybody has to do what they have to do."
As for "being the hunted, rather than the hunter"? Not so fast.
"We're Hawks," Anthony said. "We're always hunting."