Lee Academy head football coach Ricky Weiss has a bold prediction about Friday's first-round playoff game at Starkville Academy – fans shouldn't be prepared to stay long at J.E. Logan Field.
"This could be one of the fastest games ever," said Weiss. "They don't throw it much and we don't throw it much, so the clock should be running pretty good. I've even had another coach tell me this is fixing to be the fastest game in private school history."
No matter how fast the clock runs over the course of the 7 p.m. contest, Weiss simply hopes his Colts are the team left standing in the end.
A victory for Lee Academy would be just another chapter in what has been a turnaround season for the school.
In 2010, Lee Academy finished with a 2-9 overall record, sparking the Colts to make offseason changes which included putting Weiss at the head of the Colts football program.
It's a spot Weiss was familiar with, having previously coached at the school before spending the last eight years as Lee Academy's headmaster, a post Weiss still holds.
It turned out Weiss was just the man to take over the team, as the veteran led the Colts to a 5-5 season, including a 3-3 mark in division play, good enough to put Lee Academy in the postseason.
"I'm so proud of these boys," said Weiss. "We knew we had a bad season last year and we were just trying to get our kids to play hard this year. Not that we played that well all year, but I thought we gave good effort, pretty much the whole season."
Turns out, that effort has left Lee Academy as one of just four Class AAA-II teams still playing.
It's a position that Weiss says is a bit surprising given last year's struggles.
"We just tried to take it week-by-week this year," said Weiss. "We talked about playoffs, as most coaches do, as far as a goal-type thing, but it wasn't something we expected at all."
Making the Colts' run even more impressive in Weiss' eyes is Lee Academy's lack of any type of standout player.
Weiss says the Colts have truly used a team effort to get their season to this point.
"We don't have a 1,000-yard rusher or somebody who has dominated defensively," said Weiss. "We just don't have that type of team. There's really no stars on it and it takes everyone playing hard for us to have a chance."
Weiss says yet another complete, team effort will be needed Friday if Lee Academy is to top Starkville Academy.
Perhaps the key, according to Weiss, will be the Colts' ability to hold onto the football.
"Our problem has been turnovers," said Weiss. "The times of games in which we've played poorly, turnovers have been the big deal for us.
"We know we can't do that and we're going to have to play our best to be in this game on Friday night."