12 months after beating Aliquippa (49-14) and claiming their 7th state title in school history, the (15-0) Southern Columbia Tigers tackle (14-0) Steel Valley in Saturday's AA state final.
"It's a team that has a lot of athleticism and a lot of speed. They are not that big upfront, but they are quick and aggressive, and the secondary has good athletes that run really well, so I think that it's really important to win the battle upfront," said Jim Roth.
The Tigers will be dealing with a Steel Valley first team defense that's only given up two touchdowns all season long. They've mercy ruled every opponent and without Gaige Garcia in the lineup that will mean extra carries for Hunter Thomas.
"It's just coming out and playing football. It's just mind-set and preparation. I think that we are ready now. We are already mentally preparing for this, and I think for the freshman it's the biggest game they are going to play in this year and maybe the next three years you just don't know if they are going to make it back or not, but I think that we are ready," said Hunter Thomas.
In consecutive weeks it's been the Tigers defense coming up with big stops. They'll need another sound effort against the speed of Steel Valley.
"Pretty much seeing the same thing as Steel Valley has two good receivers like Ligonier Valley did so the same thing with me and Julian going to lock on both on them and we just have to defend the pass, but Steel Valley has a good running back so we to look out for him too," said Cameron Young.
"Looking at film they are athletes. They have one 4 star and one 3 star recruit and I think that one is going to Pittsburgh and the other is not committed yet, but it doesn't matter though they are good athletes. Like last year when we played Aliquippa and Keyshown Pugh he was a 5 star recruit and one player can't beat a team," again said Hunter.
This is the Tigers state record 15th appearance in a championship game and a 31 game winning streak on the line for the 11am start Saturday morning.