Kareem Johnson returns a punt in the Saints win over Hargrave
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -
It was in 2010 that the Saint Anne's-Belfield football team won their sixth state title under head coach John Blake, and now in 2014 the team has set themselves up to make a run at their seventh title in less than 20 years.
"I don't know what my expectations were even before the season," says senior quarterback Lee Parkhill. "I don't if we expected to be this good but I think we've been working hard, and for us to be doing what we've done. It was definitely our goal at the beginning of the season."
"Everybody's relaxed," says coach Blake. "We're having fun. The kids are just enjoying themselves. Having what we went through two years ago. They don't take anything for granted. And they come out and work hard everyday."
The Saints defenses has allowed an averaged of less than ten points per game in all their wins this season.
A big part of that comes from senior linebacker Minor Smith who coach Blake describes as the heart and soul of the defense.
"I call the plays. I talk to the coach," says Smith. "I've studied the film. And I've worked at this position really hard, so I really appreciate him saying that, but its not just me its the whole defense. They're flying around. We're making plays. People can't score on us."
They were 0-10 two years ago, but now STAB is 8-1 with a chance to lock up the number one seed in the state playoffs.
It would be the first time that Saint Anne's-Belfield has hosted a post season game since 2010.
"We've never played at home in a playoff game yet," says junior wide receiver Kareem Johnson. "So being able to host it. An entire tournament is going to be a big thing for us. I think Blue Ridge is that one game that's going to get us... to actually clinch the playoff."
Players say a key for this season has been the selfless attitude the team has played with.
"Team morale...Everybody's friends," says junior wide receiver Jalen Harrison. "No enemies. No egos. Everybody's together as one."
"We're all buds," says senior linebacker and fullback Jake Allen. "We're all seniors. This is our last season and we all want to go out with a bang."