HAWKINSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - It's the first week of December. The grass at Hawkinsville High School turned yellow a long time ago, but the Red Devils are still practicing, getting ready for an appearance in the GHSA Class A Public School state semifinals.
"Everybody's pretty much excited," says senior linebacker Joshua Bembry. "They can't wait for Friday."
"They love their football here in Hawkinsville," says second-year head coach David Daniell. "They know their football here in Hawkinsville, and everybody wants to be a part of it."
They got here by beating rival Clinch County on the road last week, 23-8. Before running into the Red Devils, the Panthers had averaged 24 points a game.
"They played hard," Daniell says. "We put 11 hats on the football, and that's what you want every week."
"It felt good just to see my boys out there working hard to keep the score down," says senior fullback J.D. Burden. "We went out and executed on offense every time they made a stop."
Next up for the Red Devils is a trip to Marion County Friday. The Eagles are averaging 33 points a game and have recorded four shutouts this season, including two in the playoffs.
Hawkinsville actually played Marion County about a month ago and came out on top 14-10. This time around, they want to show their win wasn't a fluke.
"They're (Marion County) going to be pretty much ready, just as well as us," Bembry says. "Everybody has to come out and execute pretty good, and hopefully we can get the W."
"I want to make sure the kids know that Marion's not a pushover," Daniell says. "Just because we beat them doesn't mean we're going to walk over there and beat them again. We've got to get prepared and play our best to beat them."
It's not easy to beat a team twice in one season, but a win Friday night would send the Red Devils to the Georgia Dome for a shot at a sixth state championship.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 Friday night in Buena Vista. We'll have highlights from the game on The Endzone presented by the Dozier Law Firm at 11:15.