CRANE, Texas (Nexstar) – For the Golden Cranes, a recent string of playoff appearances has been nice. This year’s experienced team, however, will be looking for more. In each of the past three seasons, Crane has won a playoff game only to lose the following week.

“Going past the second round is a pretty big goal for us,” said senior quarterback Jaxon Willis. “Once we can do that, then we just got to see how far we can go.”

Seniors like Jaxon Willis believe keeping the team united, on and off the field, will help this familiar squad succeed.

“This year, I have to be more of a vocal leader and especially get our guys to do the right things outside of the football field in the classroom and just in the town,” said Willis. “The big thing is we just have to stay together.”

Behind a stingy defense, Crane posted three shutouts last season. Aggression and toughness are major strengths for the team.

“We have men on the line and backers that’ll hit you,” said senior safety/wide receiver Pacen Smith. “They’ll hit you hard. No matter what – even if you’re wrapped up, they’re flying to the ball as fast as they can. None of them are scared.”

The Golden Cranes have the skill and now multiple years of playoff games to lean on. They believe that experience will prepare them for their games late in the season.

“The difference from one to two years of football is really mind-boggling,” said Smith. “We had people that were playing on the defense on varsity as freshmen playing in playoffs. It helped a lot.”

“Pretty much everybody on varsity has playoff experience and district championship experience so that’s going to help us,” said Willis. “It’s not going to be a shock to them whenever we get there.”