George Wythe is taking its 12-1 record clear across the state to play Franklin -- the undefeated power from the other side of Emporia.
This time last year, the Maroons' football season was over. It came to an end in the region finals by the hands of Clintwood -- the eventual state champs. But this year, George Wythe is still vying for a state title, and even got to avenge its loss to the Greenwave, knocking them out of the playoffs last week, in the same round they were eliminated last year.
"They came here last year and we were undefeated and they had lost one game,” George Wythe head coach H.S. Ingo said. “We turned the ball over 6 times and lose to them and they went on to win the state championship that year and I think we left a lot on the field and we gained a lot of valuable experience for this year."
The 7-0 win over Clintwood was certainly a defensive battle, and helped the players and the coaches gain confidence in being able to finish such a close, low-scoring game.
"We learned that we could work well as a team and that we can be physical if we come ready to play,” senior left guard Jacob Deane said. “If we play to our capabilities, we can play with anybody."
From here though, the Maroons have to make a five-hour trip to the other side of the state, to take on a fast and athletic Franklin team, who has been rolling over its opponents by an average of nearly 40 points this post-season.
"I don't know that they've had a close game,” Ingo said. “They've kind of blown everybody out by the scores indicated and what we've seen on film and they have a very talented team-- a lot quicker than what we're used to seeing up here and according to everyone we've scouted they're very physical as well so it's sort of a different combination for us."
The Maroons have their own weapons though, with their strong run game and experienced linemen to pave the way.
"Obviously we feel like we have as good a chance as anyone else,” Ingo said. “We're here down to the final 4 and in the final 4 everyone's going to be good. We just want to take care of ourselves and with that our play makers obviously are the kids that have led us here-- our running backs. But it all comes down to the front 5, which is our front 5 and they're all seniors so they, those 5 are definitely going to have to step up and play well. If they play well we feel like we've got a good chance."