"We won it all in 6A last year and we're back in 7A again," Coach Appino said. "We are normally a 7A team but last year there were a lot of bigger schools that qualified so we got bumped down.
"We're 9-0 right now. I thought the season went as planned. I knew our offensive line would be a work in progress because we are young up front but all in all I was pleasantly surprised and pleased on how they gelled.
Boylan is led on offense by dual-threat quarterback Lamont Toney. The 6-foot-1, 160-pounder, has 18 touchdowns passes so far this season and he has rushed for 357 yards as well.
Running back Tyreis Thomas, who had a tremendous state championship game a year ago, led Boylan in rushing again this year with 862 yards and 17 touchdowns.
"We are a very well rounded team," Appino said. "(Lamont) Toney is an excellent quarterback and Tyreis (Thomas) had a great year in my opinion despite our opponents putting 8 in-the-box on a regular basis."
Boylan is also strong on the defensive side of the ball led by Northwestern recruit Dean Lowry.
"Dean is definitely our defensive leader," Coach Appino said. "We've lined him up at defensive end and defensive tackle and he just gets the job done. We also have our leading tackler from last year back with us this year in linebacker Ryan Zimmerman.
"Zimmerman led us in tackles again for us this year and he's a guy that you have to know where he's at all the time. He's just a smart, physical football player."
To repeat, as state champions won't be easy for Boylan and Appino know it.
"The (Chicago) Tribune said we had the second toughest road to the finals but looking at our bracket, I feel we have the toughest road. We won't have an easy game. If we win it all, we will have earned it."
Rockford Boylan Looking Back-to-Back
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