The start of the district schedule can also serve as the beginning of a new season.
Cedar Park and Rouse open District 11-5A DI Friday night at Bible Stadium. The Timberwolves enter the game at 3-1 on the season, while the Raiders are looking for their first win of the season.
"Any win in district play is a big win," Cedar Park head coach Carl Abseck said. "If you want to be district champ here, you probably have to go undefeated. You can't win them all without winning the first one."
Cedar Park took the victory in last year's matchup between the two Leander ISD schools, a 31-7 decision at Gupton Stadium.
"(A win) would be absolutely huge for our program," Rouse head coach Josh Mann said. "Any district win is huge, whether it be the first one or any other, and the way our numbers are looking, we can be a playoff team. So, those wins are very important."
Cedar Park's heralded "Black Rain" defense comes into this game having allowed just three points in last week's 51-3 win against Katy Cinco Ranch. Senior defensive lineman Ben Bell led the defensive unit with 14 solo tackles in last Friday's victory.
"We expect them to continue every week," Abseck said. "There are still things we need to do to improve on defense, and we're still young as a group. I expect them to improve every week and live up to the reputation of the tradition of the Black Rain defense."
Junior quarterback Ryder Hernandez has thrown for 979 yards and six touchdowns, while also running for a team-high 101 yards, through the first four games of the season.
"Not only has he matured as a leader, but he's also in really good control of what we're trying to do offensively," Abseck said. "And he is starting to use his legs a little more, which is beneficial for us."
Rouse's offense struggled during its non-district schedule, scoring just 22 total points in four games. The Raiders were defeated handily last week, falling to A&M Consolidated 42-3 on the road.
"We're just working to get some positions established on offense," Mann said. "We have struggled there, but we have played three tremendous teams in non-district, so points are going to be tough, but we feel like we have started to turn a corner here. I feel like this is a great way to try and rebuild what our identity is. We're rebounding off of a couple of key injuries and we're trying to re-establish some of that unity we have been missing."
Follow @HCNSports on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news on all local and regional sports.