Most coaches will say every game is a big game, but tonight's game can be consideredy the biggest of the season for the Starkville Academy Volunteers.
The Volunteers (5-4, 2-2) travel to Pelahatchie to take on the East Rankin Academy Patriots (5-4, 2-2) for the Class AAA, Division II championship.
"There is great excitement," SA head coach Jeff Terrill said. "We have good practices. We have high spirits. You feel awful fortunate to be this time in October and be in a game like this. That is what you work for."
The Vols are no stranger to winning a division title. Last season, SA won the Division II title and made it all the way to the state championship.
Terrill and his Vols are proud of last season, but know it has nothing to do with what they face tonight.
"That would be an outstanding accomplishment, but I think we are dwelling more on just this year, this game and getting it done," Terrill said. "We really like the attitude of the team. We like the way we have improved. We are playing with a lot of confidence. We are really excited to see what happens and we think we are going to pull this rabbit out of this hat."
Last week the Vols took care of the Patriots of Winston Academy. SA took a 41-7 win on homecoming night.
"It just solidified our confidence," Terrill said. "It put them back in the perspective that we can do this. We have come up short some other games, but I think they really believe we are a better football team. We are looking for our best ballgame (tonight)."
East Rankin Academy brings a high power offense to the game with a veteran quarterback leading the charge.
"They have got a very, very explosive offense led by senior quarterback Jacob Weldon," Terrill said. "He has got really good speed and arm. He does a good job of making something happen when it's not there originally."
For Terrill and Vols' defense, getting back to fundamentals and doing things right is the top priority.
"We are going to have to pursue well and tackle well in space," Terrill said. "They are going to find a way to get the ball in space. We are going to have to do a good job of getting the guy on the ground and doing some fundamental things. If we play good fundamental defense, we will be alright."
For Vol quarterback Drew Pellum and the rest of the SA offense controlling the tempo is the focus.
Terrill wants his offense to work like one in basketball would.
"We have to control the ball," Terrill said. "We want to win time of possession and we want the game to become physical. Comparing it to basketball, we want to come down the court slow, set up our offense, hang on to it and shoot it."