CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Coach Eddie Smolder took over the Sissonville High School football team three seasons ago, he wanted to create a solid foundation on which to rebuild the Indians' program.
After finishing 2-8 in his first season, the Indians barely missed the Class AA playoffs last season in finishing with a 5-5 record.
This season the Indians are off to a 2-0 start and are reaping the benefits of last season's improvements.
"This is year three of our program and our team has really come together as a family," Smolder said. "They work hard, they push each other and they hold each other accountable. They're an unselfish bunch of kids too. The bottom line is that they want to win.
"We lost five games last year and three of those were by a touchdown or less. We were close to making the playoffs last season so that's really fueled the kids' fire this season."
The Indians will get a chance to avenge on of those close losses tonight when they welcome Tolsia (0-2) to Joe Sawyer Field for a Cardinal Conference matchup.
Sissonville topped the Rebels in Smolder's inaugural season, before losing 14-7 in Wayne County last season.
While last season's loss is still fresh in the Sissonville players' minds, Smolder insists that revenge isn't the motivating factor for his 2013 team.
"I'd be lying if I said we didn't think about it, but we really try to take things one game at a time and focus on the most important game, which is our next game," Smolder said. "This week it happens to be Tolsia, so this week our full focus is on them.
"They beat us last year and this is our third game, so we're just working hard each day to get better. This is our most important game because it's our next game. We're looking forward to Friday night because we're excited and we've put in a lot of work."
Aside from facing each other the past two seasons, the two teams squared off last month in the Cardinal Conference grid-o-rama.