The first day Christ Church’s football coaches gathered this team in the weight room, defensive coordinator Derek White drew a bull’s eye on the board.
The coaches drew a bull’s eye on their field the first day of practice. They had T-shirts made with bull’s eyes.
“They knew they had to outwork everybody,” White said Monday after the Christ Church contingent had spent a few minutes in front of the media during a state finals news conference.
The Cavaliers had to be especially resilient the past two weeks in order to extend their winning streak to 39 games and reach their third consecutive state final.
After rallying to defeat Williston-Elko in the second round and then Lamar in the Upper State final, Christ Church (13-0) will play Carvers Bay (12-1) for the Class A Division I championship at 3 p.m. Friday at Charles W. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Benedict College.
“We were outmanned against Williston-Elko 70 pounds a man across the front, and we came out on top,” Christ Church coach Don Frost said. “Quickness? Lamar had more quickness than we ever thought about having, and somehow we found a way to get there at the end.
“So I credit the kids and the will to win, playing smart football, knowing where they’ve got to be and when they’ve got to be there.”
“We haven’t been behind like that in a long time, and it’s helped us pull together as a team,” said senior defensive end Will Gross. “We had two victories against two very good teams, and it’ll help us this week. Everyone learned that even if we get down, we’ve still got to keep fighting. Anything can happen.”
White said that mentality started with the bull’s eye in the weight room in January.
“You’ve got to focus every week, because you’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” he said. “These guys probably worked harder than any class we’ve ever had. They may not be the most talented we’ve ever had. They’ve worked harder than any one we’ve had.”
Frost talks frequently to his players about winning the last game they play each season. That takes on special meaning for the seniors.
“I kind of take that to heart,” said senior wide receiver Quan White. “Being my last high school game, I want to win the championship. I’m ready for it.”