LYNCHBURG, Va (WDBJ7) It's been four years since the Pioneers have blazed a trail back to the state semifinals, but after taking down rival Brookville last week, Heritage is certainly enjoying the ride.
Jabari Blake, Heritage Junior Quarterback: "It feels amazing just to be able to play with my brothers another week. The ride is really fun, just being on the bus with my brothers before each game, and coming out pregame warmups, and coming out to the games, it's just fun playing with them."
Elijah Davis, Heritage Senior Running Back: "It feels great, just knowing ho much we've put in and to see the outcome of it. I mean, it feels great because we've been putting in a lot. The offensive line has been working their butts off, the receivers have gotten better and blocking. So it's 24-7 for us, because everyday after the game on Friday, they put up film, we watch it. Saturday, we're going to watch film. Sunday, we watch film. It's like 24-7, plus we have school on top of that. It's pretty much freshman year of college for us out here."
But before Heritage seniors officially make the move to college, there's plenty of business to attend to on the high school field, with a colossal match-up against Staunton River on the horizon.
Brad Bradley, Heritage Head Coach: "We knew that the road to a state championship was going to run through Moneta, and it's going to be a long, hard-fought battle. We know that. It's going to be a war, it's going to definitely be a war. We're excited about the opportunity, but we also know that we've got to play 48 minutes flawlessly, and we have to play really physical to win this game."
And while it doesn't get much more physical than Staunton River's Grayson Overstreet, Elijah Davis knows all eyes are going to be on him to have an equal impact for the Pioneers.
Elijah Davis: "I've been seeing on Twitter and stuff, everyone is comparing us. That's why I'm off of my social media this week, so I'm just ready to play. Because everybody has been sleeping on me, this team. Especially the O-Line, I think they deserve more offers and attention than what they've been getting., because they've just been sleeping on us. So we're ready to prove what we can do."
And if the Pioneers are able to knock off the Golden Eagles, they'll get their chance at another state title for the program at Heritage.
Brad Bradley: "Football's the greatest game in the world, and a lot about football is not about wins and losses. It's about experiences, and Saturday, they're going to get an experience they're never going to forget. It's a tremedous opportunity for our program, and it's just one of those situations, it's high school football in December, and the winner of this game gets a ticket to the dance, and that's special."
Elijah Davis: "I feel like it's right around the corner, I can't wait. We get this game, we're going to be there, and just eat pancakes all day, eat pancakes all day. Whatever's on the plate, we're going to keep eating until it's all gone."
And the Pioneers are hoping there's enough pancakes to go around for not just one, but two more games.