Coach Chris Mahand and his Talladega Central team have had a spectacular season carrying in a perfect 14-0 record. He has great senior leadership.
"It starts with Robert Reynolds. He has over 1,700 yards with 17 touchdowns. He is a standout senior leader. Whenever we need a big play, we can give the ball to him," he said.
Leading a defense that only allows six points per game, is another senior leader Reginald Virges.
Coach Mahand said, "He is a great leader, as well. He has 89 solo tackles, 60 assists, three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. He's one of those players that just understands football."
Sweet Water is a two-time defending state champion, so they know what they are doing when it comes to playing in Birmingham. Coach Mahand told ScoutSouth.com what he expects from the No.1 team in 1A.
"They're very well coached, and they believe they can win. We have to play well," he said.
It's going to take more than emotion alone to win this game for the Tigers.
"Execution is the key. We don't have the luxury of mistakes against a team with the caliber of Sweet Water. If we execute, we stand a good chance," Mahand said.
Stacy Luker and his Bulldogs have been here before, so they are pretty familiar with Legion Field.
"It's a pretty big deal to these kids being in a big stadium with the big screen and all the media coverage. I think there's some advantage in us being there before," he said.
Luker's overall feeling about the game seems to be about the same it is any other week, "We're confident every week, but everybody's good this time of year," he said.
The Fighting Tigers have one of the best defenses in the state and that is what they will rely on against Sweet Water.
"They have a great defense and great athletes. They depend on their defense. That's obviously the strength of their team," Luker said Monday afternoon.
1A State Championship Thursday, 3:00 p.m. at Birmingham's Legion Field.
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