ALTAVISTA, Va. -

Altavista has cruised through the post-season, as the Colonels find themselves back in the state semis, bidding for the school's first state crown since 2009. Saturday afternoon's 1A match-up between Altavista and Haysi is at 2 p.m.

"I just think it's going to come down to who plays the hardest. I don't have any doubt in my team that I know we will play hard,” senior running back Destin Brown said.

Altavista has certainly played hard to this point, coming off one of their best performances of the season last week in its 57-14 win over Franklin, who knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
"They had a great week of practice. Coaches had them prepared and they executed their schemes to a T,” Altavista coach Mike Scharnus said. “Our kids really wanted to play real bad to avenge last year's game. We felt that we needed to do that and we have to get that same type of attitude again for this coming week."

The Colonels will have their hands full against a 13-0 Haysi team, which they will have to travel about five hours to play. But the long road trip is not something they're worried about.

"I don't think it's going to affect us much,” Brown said. “I just think it's a new environment. But either way, we're going to play football. That's the number 1 thing is to play football."

Both teams are capable of putting-up plenty of points on the board, averaging more than 40 points per game. But where the Colonels think they have the edge is on the other side of the ball, behind their defense which is only giving up 10 points per game.

"I like to think our defense is the reason why we win games,” Brown said. “I think that defense is going to be a big thing in this game -- to not let our opponent score."

And while the Colonels are busy preparing for Saturday's big game, they're making sure they're still enjoying the ride as they work towards bringing back their first state title since 2009.

"We've been pumped since day one,” senior lineman Ashton Robinson said. “We've been pumped for the first game when we played Prince Edward but now we're in the state semifinals and it feels amazing. I honestly can't get over the fact that we're here."