The Pacelli Vikings are flawless this season. They’re a perfect 3-0, but the team is used to fast starts.
“We just gotta keep playing every game like it’s our first game, like with that same intensity,” senior running back and free safety De’Andre Bowman said at practice Wednesday.
Bowman and others on the team know that a quick start to the season doesn’t always equate to a region title. The Vikings haven’t won their region since 2008. Bowman pointed out some Region 4-A teams that pose a threat to the Vikings this season: Marion County, former champs Hawkinsville, rivals Brookstone, and Greenville.
The Vikings take on the unbeaten Greenville Patriots as their homecoming opponents. The Vikings have respect for the Patriots, and head coach Alan Griffin says at this point, small tweaks will be needed to make the next leap in region play.
“I’m not really a big pump up guy,” Griffin said when asked about the added attention and camaraderie of homecoming. “I just try to challenge them with making practices as difficult as I can make them. And having them overcome that difficult practice day in and day out, make sure my expectations for them are clear and that my expectations are high for them, I’m not satisfied unless they meet those expectations. I think they know that.”
Senior defensive end and offensive tack Ryan Graves remembers all too well how games against Greenville have gone. His freshman year, 2012, the Patriots clobbered the Vikings 47-7. The next year, the Vikings got revenge in satisfying fashion with a 70-30 win over the Patriots. By Graves’ junior year in 2014, his Vikings team edged the Patriots 35-28. So this year, there’s a little extra tension.
“We’re going to keep pushing no matter what,” Graves said. “No matter how big the other guy on the other side of the ball is, we’re still going to hit him in the mouth and make that touchdown.”