During Matt Mishler's tenure at Rolling Meadows, his teams have usually needed a couple weeks to get rolling.
That's not the case in his sixth season as the Mustangs clinched their first 3-0 start in nine years with a 48-14 victory over visiting Maine East on Friday night.
Now Mishler's task is keeping his players grounded and on task. Rolling Meadows will seek to remain unbeaten next week at Maine West.
"I think complacency is always one of the biggest concerns we have," the coach said. "We try to address that by just talking about how important every day is and how important every rep is in practice. I think our guys are starting to understand that philosophy."
Rolling Meadows dropped two of its first three games last season before bouncing back to win five of its final six in the regular season. The Mustangs' previous three such closing stretches were 6-1, 5-1 and 5-1, respectively.
Rolling Meadows won its first seven games in 2007 en route to a 9-2 finish.
"We're going week to week. That's our big thing," quarterback Asher O'Hara said. "We don't care who we're playing. We're just worrying about playing to our max."
The Mustangs needed just one play from scrimmage to open the scoring as Luis Robledo returned a Maine East fumble 10 yards. They added two more TDs in only three plays, Devonte Amos' 27-yard run and a 49-yard pass from O'Hara to Marco Taibi.
O'Hara's final touchdown pass in his abbreviated night was a 25-yarder to Logan Reese with 1:37 left in the opening quarter, and the final score involving Rolling Meadows' starters was a 13-yard run for Blake Holfeld just six seconds into the second quarter.
Joe Muti came in for O'Hara on the next drive and would complete a pair of scores, one to Malik Allen and the other to Jack Rebman.
Maine East (1-2) ended Rolling Meadows' shutout bid when Jusuf Zvizdic connected with Jakhari Dobson on a 73-yard pass with 5:41 remaining before halftime. Zvizdic was part of the game's final touchdown, a 3-yard pass to Bradley Ezop.
Zvizdic finished with 175 yards through the air -- 128 to Dobson -- but the Blue Demons totaled just 30 on the ground. Rolling Meadows has allowed 99 rushing yards in its three games while outscoring opponents 126-28.
"Our defense set the tone again," Mishler said. "They've just been doing an unbelievable job of bringing the energy and setting the tone for this team."
Jared Axelrad had a team-best 87 yards on nine carries for the Mustangs. Kevin Lacosse finished with 50 on only four attempts, and Amos had 44 on two rushes.
"I thought our kids did what we asked them to do. They came out and played with energy and passion," Mishler said. "We've just asked our guys to do their job the best they can every play, and they're taking that to heart."