MT. ZION, Ill. (WCIA) — Mt. Zion football has been building for this year since Patrick Etherton took over in 2016.
“These kids have seen it all. They’ve been through it and they’ve worked very hard to put ourselves in this position,” says Etherton.
That’s a chance for a conference title. This group of seniors is the first class to go through the program with Etherton at the helm all four seasons.
“[It’s] A huge difference because every year we know what’s gonna happen and we know the schemes and everything so we’re just used to it now, ” says senior wide receiver Jayse Booker.
The 2017 season sure helped as motivation. The Braves went 5-4, qualifying for the playoffs, but their playoff points weren’t enough to get them in.
“That definitely drove us a lot because a lot of the seniors now, a lot of us played then so it was definitely a big motivator for sure because we knew we could have done a lot better that year,” says Booker.
They’re also drawing motivation from last season. The Braves had to beat Troy Triad in week 9 to clinch their postseason berth. But this year they don’t want to settle for ‘sneaking in’, they want that unblemished regular season.
“It’s a relief but at the same time we all really want that 9-0 and that conference title,” says senior quarterback Ashton Summers. “I think it’ll mean a lot to us. It’s been three or four years since we’ve had it, it’s been a while since a teams gone 9-0 here and I think it’d mean a lot to us and the coaches.
The Braves can cement a top seed in the brackets with a win on Friday against the Effingham Flaming Hearts. It would be their 8th of the season, all but guaranteeing them a home game in the first round of the playoffs.