The Indians have a shot at it this weekend in Atlanta when they play for the Single-A public state championship game.
This time, they don't plan on letting it slip away.
Irwin County has pushed all season long. They’ve earned the Region 2-single A crown and a (12-1) record. Now they’re just one push away from the ultimate goal.
Standing in their way of a state title is Clinch County (11-2). It’s a rematch of 2015 when the Panthers bested the Indians in Atlanta, after Irwin County had won the regular season meeting and the region.
Same story this year, but the Indians would hate to suffer the same fate.
“Can’t do it, can’t do it man," said senior linebacker Demetrius Martin. "I’ve got to put a ring on my boys’ fingers man.”
“You go through the heartbreak and the stuff like that, and you get another shot, especially on your last chance, your senior year, it’s special," said senior running back Reid Fletcher.
The focus for Irwin County this year is ball security. They turned the ball over 5 times in the 2015 state title loss to Clinch County.
“Our kids were great at the game and played hard, and it wasn’t like we got blown out, but we just had so many turnovers and things go against us," aid 4th year head coach Buddy Nobles.
“We will go through practice and if you’re not holding the ball right, we have to drop and do push ups if one of the coaches sees us," said Fletcher.
Nobles took over in Ocilla in 2014. This is his third state title appearance in 4 seasons, but appearances don’t get you rings, wins do.
He and his Indians are familiar, and Nobles has the formula to beat Clinch County for the second time this season and to bring the Hardware back to Ocilla.
“Being good tacklers, being tough which we feel like we have a physical team, and running the ball," said Nobles. "We believe in running the ball. We’re going to get after your rear end and do everything we can and hopefully that’s what we do this Saturday.”
Irwin County won the regular season meeting 21-7 on September 15th in Ocilla.
A win Saturday would be their first title since 1975 and 2nd in school history.
Kickoff is at 10 Saturday morning at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium.
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