COLFAX, Illinois (WMBD) – The Ridgeview-Lexington Mustangs avoided a hangover from last year’s state semifinal run. Now back in the Final Four again, they’re a much more confident team.

Last year we weren’t ranked, I don’t even think when the playoffs started and this year we’re number two at the beginning of the season.

Hal Chiodo, Ridgeview-Lexington Head Coach

The team knew that after last year’s Cinderella run, they would not sneak up on anybody. Despite getting everyone’s best shot, the Mustangs are still undefeated.

“We knew we had to step it up because people were expecting us to be better,” running back Logan Friedmansky said. “So we got all the hard work over the summer… everybody coming out and working hard, just something felt a little bit different.”

Quarterback Alec Thomas added: “Last year, I think toward the beginning of the season, it took us a little bit to figure out how to win and how to finish football games. This year we’re a lot more of a second-half team and a lot better finishing out the entire game.”

One benefit the team will have in this year’s semifinal game is it won’t include a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride on game day.

“That was horrible,” Friedmansky said. “Luckily we don’t have to and they have to come down here to our turf and hopefully we’ll put a good beating on them.”

Win or lose, it will be their final home game, an emotional thought even while they’re in the Final Four.

If we win, we get one more game together, but our last home game for sure is really emotional. But we’re just happy it’s in a semifinal game and we get to play with each other still.

Kaden Farrell, Ridgeview-Lexington Running Back

It’s a great feeling because all my brothers are here and we’re all having fun and winning a lot of football games.

Alec Thomas

Definitely sad. I’ve been playing football with these guys all my life and it’s been a pleasure to play with them. Being able to go on that field one more time is a great feeling but also a sad one too.

Logan Friedmansky

Kickoff against Camp Point Central will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ridgeview High School