Two teams ranked near the top of their respective classification will square off for Escambia County bragging rights tonight when the West Florida Jaguars travel to take on the Northview Chiefs.
The Jaguars are currently 9-0 and ranked No. 4 in the Class 5A poll. Northview enters the matchup with a 7-2 record and a ranking of No. 4 in the Class 1A state poll.
Both will host first-round playoff games next week, but that doesn't mean tonight's game doesn't have anything riding on it.
"Obviously, it was a goal at the beginning of the season to go 10-0, and that's still there," West Florida coach Harry Lees said. "We won 9 games last year, so this is their shot to get to 10-0.
"Hopefully we play well enough. I told them today, Northview is no pushover. From their point of view, they feel like they can beat us and what a win that would be for them to beat a team ranked in the Class 5A poll."
Northview certainly has Lees' attention. He said he doesn't see a 1A team when looking at the Chiefs. Instead, he sees a team every bit as good as anybody the Jaguars have played this season.
"If you didn't know anything about their classification or how big their school was, you'd think they were just like everybody else on our schedule," Lees said. "Athletically, there's no doubt they match up.
"They have a couple of guys that go both ways, and that might be our only advantage. Overall, they're bigger than we are. We have Nate (Crawford) and one or two other guys, but as a whole, they're bigger than us. The 11 they put out and the 11 we put out should be a good matchup."
Lees is hoping the Jaguars play with intensity, instead of overlooking the Chiefs and toward the playoff matchup with Godby next week.
"It's hard to keep the kids focused on anything these days," Lees said. "It was so bad last week (against Chiles). This week, we've gotten a little better and I think they do have that 10-0 deal out there to keep them focused.
"I'm really concerned about the matchup. It's not coach speak. We'd like to think we're 5A and we can run over them, but we can't."