When the Trenton Tigers meet the Northview Chiefs for the Class 1A state championship at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Friday night, they'll be a confident group.
In two seasons under head coach Andrew Thomas, the Tigers have amassed a 24-1 record, with the only loss coming to eventual state champion Jefferson County in the 2011 regional final.
Ranked No. 1 in the state and rolling through a 13-0 season, the Tigers are ready for a shot at the program's first state championship.
"The kids have learned to win, obviously," Thomas said Wednesday. "We've been in a couple of games where we've been down early and because of the success we've had, we've been able to stay with the plan, and the kids were willing to stick to the plan.
"We're feeling good in that we are in the state championship game, but we realize we have one more game to win and can't get caught up in the moment. We've got our hands full in Northview."
Trenton brings a potent offensive attack into the 6:07 p.m. kickoff, led by running back Cedric Stokes and quarterback Stephen Smith.
Both athletes have run for more than 1,000 yards this season, and both can create a touchdown on every snap of the ball.
Stokes has rushed for 1,822 yards and 26 touchdowns on the year. A shifty runner, Thomas said the senior is surprisingly powerful for his 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame.
"He runs the ball very physical; he'll run downhill," Thomas said. "His quickness stands out, but he knows how to put his foot in the ground and lower his shoulder."
Smith has 1,183 rushing yards this season, but the junior quarterback also has 863 yards and 15 touchdowns passing.
"He's got great accuracy with his ball," Thomas said. "He doesn't have a great arm, but he has a good arm, especially for our level. We could do a lot more passing with him."
The Tigers and Chiefs didn't share a common opponent this season, making it difficult for the coaching staffs to gauge how the teams will matchup, but Thomas said Northview is a team the Tigers have been expecting to meet all season.
"It's scary watching them on film," Thomas said. "They're good on offense with the number of different ways they can attack you. And they're really physical on defense attacking the ball."
But Thomas said his team is ready, and he's looking forward to the challenge of his school's first state championship game.
"We're gonna have to bring our A-game if we're going to win," Thomas said. "We just have to stick to what got us here, do what we do well. If we do that, we have a chance to win the football game."