The Northview High Chiefs had no idea how far their successful season had reached.
This week, during practice for tonight's 9th annual Subway High School All-Star Football Game, they got a pretty good idea.
And they got an even better glimpse at their impact Thursday night, when the four Chiefs participating in the game were honored for winning the Class 1A state championship.
Kevin Vaughan, Roderick Woods, Blake McCall and LaDerious Franklin were all brought up on stage and presented certificates of appreciation after Thursday night's all-star banquet at the L.I.F.E Center on the Milton campus of Pensacola State College.
"Being a state champion feels great," said Vaughan, who scored a rushing touchdown in the Chiefs' 42-21 win over Trenton. "You get to walk up in the locker room (this week) and people congratulate you. It's good to know people recognize you down here and they know what you've accomplished.
"I think a lot of these guys have respect for us. They're happy too, knowing that a team in this area won it and represented this area."
The all-stars gathered with their parents in Milton for the annual banquet, which is presented by the Pensacola Sports Association and sponsored by the Andrews Institute.
Kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m. at Pace. Admission is $7 at the gate, or $5 with the donation of a canned food item to help benefit the Manna Food Pantry.
"I think it's an honor and privilege to be a part of this," said Washington coach Craig LaBorde, who will lead the Escambia County squad. "I'm excited about it. It's another chance to get out under the Friday night lights, with an extremely talented group of young men."
The West squad will try to avenge a 28-14 loss in last year's game, which ended in the fourth quarter after tempers started to flare. This year's game could end up being equally short, time-wise, as both teams expect to feature strong running games.
"This year's squad is more of the Pine Forest/PHS mold," LaBorde said. "We're not going to be air raid throwing the football. The personnel groupings we have will allow us to be very productive running the ball, I think.
"We'll be able to throw it some, but I truly believe our strength lies in our tailbacks -- (Tate's) Lorenzo Long and (Pine Forest's) Trebian Suggs."
The same can be said for the East squad of Santa Rosa and Okaloosa County all-stars, which will be coached by Niceville's John Hicks. The East also features a couple of workhorse backs in Navarre's Jay Warren and Crestview's Micah Reed.
"I think we're a very physical group, and I think they're going to be a physical group," LaBorde said. "I told them this is a showcase game, so go out and do what got you here."
As for the four Northview players still reaping the rewards of their state championship season, this game is one more opportunity to go out on top and represent their little pocket of north Escambia County.
"It's an honor to play in this kind of game," Vaughan said. "I never thought I would play in this all-star game as a quarterback, but I'm definitely honored.
"It's a nice group of guys down here. I've made new friends, spent a lot of time getting to know them. And I can't wait to play with them."