Rio Linda, which saw its eight year playoff run end last season with a 3-7 finish, hopes to return to the postseason this year.
But the Knights, who play Lake City of Coeur d'Alene in Saturday's Idaho Classic at the University of Idaho, can't afford too many more injuries if they hope to do that.
Promising wide receiver JT Loudon already has been lost for the season with a broken clavicle. Junior inside linebacker Leonard Skattebo, a starter as a sophomore, isn't expected back for a few more weeks after breaking his left arm in a scrimmage.
Still there is optimism for the 1-1 Knights.
"Last year we struggled with team speed," said Rio Linda coach Mike Morris. "We're definitely a little quicker out there, especially with junior (running back) Lamar Bible."
Bible rushed for 213 yards and four touchdowns in Friday's 40-35 win over Antelope, the defending Capital Athletic League champions.
Morris expects the Knights will improve on their 2010 winless record in the Capital Valley Conference, which took on a drastically changed look last season through realignment.
The Knights were the lone holdover from the old, once small-school league, now Division II.
"I know we're better," Morris said. "But so it Oakmont and Bella Vista. Christian Brothers is struggling, but Casa Roble looks like the team to beat and Del Campo is always good because they play great defense. I think it's wide open."