The Hammond Skyhawks kicked off preseason practice Thursday morning in a familiar position. They have won the last two SCISA 3A state championships and will take a 25-game winning streak into their August 25 nationally televised game against Southern Columbia of Pennsylvania.

Perhaps one of the reasons head coach Erik Kimrey has won 10 state titles at Hammond is because the words "state championship" will not come out of his month unless it's state championship week. His singular focus is getting this year's team to play up to a standard and not focus on what was accomplished in the past.

Hammond certainly is expected to repeat because it returns a strong nucleus of starters from a year ago including quarterback Jackson Muschamp, receiver Andre Wilson, linebacker Saul Diaz and the two Division I-caliber defensive lineman in USC commit Alex Huntley and Jordan Burch who is a consensus top 3 prospect nationally and ranked by 247 sports as the top overall prospect in the country.

With so many starters returning, Kimrey hasn't had to totally go back to square one to start the preseason. There are a few newcomers who have to be brought up to speed, but for the most part, the coach says they are a little ahead of schedule in terms of preparation.