After falling in the second round of the playoffs last season, the Giles Spartans have had a resurgent 2013.
Now the Spartans have a tough challenge when the 12-1 Riverheads Gladiators come to Pearisburg Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. kickoff.
After a 34-point victory over Richlands in the quarterfinals, it's on to the state semis for Giles. That leaves them an opportunity to win their first state championship since 2005.
“Feels like the team came together and started playing as one, and we definitely do it when we need to but it's a big, big enjoyment to be out there with the guys,” senior defensive end Cody Rhodes said.
Giles head coach Jeff Williams said: “I think our kids really played great last Friday night against Richlands and did a great job in their blocking and protecting the football and playing tremendous defense and those things are huge when you get into the playoffs.”
The Spartans enter Saturday's contest unblemished on the season -- a perfect 13-0. They've done it offensively, averaging nearly 40 points per game this year and using a defense that has allowed just 116 points in the last nine games.
“The message is to go out there and just play like we have all year and the way we've been in the playoffs and play great defense and block well on offense and it's a game,” Williams said. “But it's another big game. It's a state semi-final game, but when it comes down to kickoff it's a high school football game.”
Giles has beaten teams by an average of 22 points this postseason, but needed a 29-yard field goal from Brett Whitlow to get by Appomattox in the second round 17-14.
“If it gets close, it gets close, Rhodes said. “We come together and become even more of a team and from the Blacksburg week the first week of the season that was close. It came down to overtime, and we came together and worked hard to win. We've built off that all season. Every time it was a close game we've become closer and closer as a team.”