ALMA (KFSM) - As the race to end the regular season on top starts to dwindles down, the 5A-West still has two teams undefeated within their conference. That will all end this week as Alma and Harrison go head-to-head in what may be a crucial game when it comes to playoff seedings.
"I had confidence in this team from the beginning," said quarterback/corner Tanner Shelton. "We started out a little rough, but it was also playing a lot bigger teams. It just took us awhile to find our identity, and once we did that, I was pretty confident in us."
Rough may be an understatement for the Airedales - who finished non-conference play 0-3 and were outscored 116-40.
"Some people wouldn't have gave much for us after the first three weeks. That's what we talked to the kids about," explained head coach Doug Loughridge. "The only people how believed in us were the ones that were in the room. They've done a good job of staying focused and looking at the task at hand and knowing it's a long season."
Once 5A-West play came along, things seems to click for Alma. With four wins under their belts, the team has come together when things matter most.
"This team is just selfless. They're not a big ego group. There's not a true superstar," Coach Loughridge mentioned. "They work better as a team. There's not just one guy that can takeover a game. Everybody has to do their part for us to be successful."
Now, the Airedales face their biggest test of conference play: hosting 7-0 Harrison for the top spot in the 5A-West.
"Harrison/Alma goes way way back into the 80's and 90's as a big rivalry in this conference," Coach Loughridge said. "Every time we square off, it's always a big game. It's always a physical game. We'll expect none the less this week."
"Harrison is also a very physical team. They're a good team. I just know coaches are going to prepare us well," Shelton added. "We're gonna come out here and we're gonna work all day and do our job and at the end of the game we'll look up and see how it ended."
While it will be a tough task to take down a team like the Golden Goblins - Alma is prepared to bring out their most tenacious play in the last home game of the regular season.
"It takes a lot to get it done, but I think we can do it if we just do everything to the best of our ability," said senior running back/linebacker Keegan Rosebeary.
Alma will host Harrison on Friday with kickoff scheduled for 7:00pm.