Coach Nathan Wright has watched his French Camp football team grow and mature this season.
The Panthers have improved to the point where it has landed them in the Class A State championship game.
French Camp makes its first State championship appearance today when it takes on Stringer. The first game of the day from Mississippi Veterans Stadium kicks off at 11 a.m.
"What we've preached each game is to be a little bit better this Friday than we were last Friday," Wright said. "We've improved in a lot of ways and improved as a family. We enjoy each other's company every day and it's fun to be around it right now."
The Panthers improved to 11-2 with a 28-8 victory over Shaw to claim the Class A North title.
Linebacker and tight end Ben Hosket said things seemed to fall into place for French Camp.
"I want to give all thanks to our coaches, fans and the Lord for all the things He's done for us," said Hosket, who leads the defense with 132 total tackles. "We're just happy to be here."
Hosket is one of several players to start on offense and defense for the Panthers. Hagan Box begins games at wide receiver and defensive back, Lavondra Carter plays wide receiver and defensive back, Jesse Hosket is the starting quarterback and defensive back, Dylan Dickey works at linebacker and tight end, and Andrew Stevens, Cortez Johnson and Douglas Hughes start on both sides of the line. Lake Koenig and Jevante McAdory also start on the offensive line.
On offense for the Panthers, Jesse Hosket has completed 59-of-118 pass attempts for 1,0009 yards and 19 touchdowns. Clemons is the leading rusher with 1,363 yards on 181 carries.
French Camp lost to Class 2A schools Eupora 20-10 and Ackerman 14-3, but ended up winning 10-straight games to get to Jackson. The Panthers knocked off Coldwater 42-6, St. Joseph 31-18 and Shaw to make the title game.
Wright knows Stringer will be a tough opponent, but at this point of the season, it's hard to expect anything else.
"Once you get to this point, you expect a barn-burner," Wright said. "There is no doubt they are a good football team that does it the right way. They are very scrappy and well-coached. I expect it to be a real difficult game.
"It's one of those games that can go either way. At this level, it's whoever makes the most mistakes is going to lose probably."