Centennial hasn't been to the playoffs, and John Marshall hasn't been since going 9-3 and reaching the second round in 2009 under Bruce Troxell.
“It's very exciting to know that all it takes is one more win to make it to the playoffs,” senior lineman Isaiah Palmer said. “We gotta keep that Britton Bowl trophy at home. We've just got to fight and play all four quarters, like our coaches teach us.”
Centennial quarterback Malcolm Mitchell Jr. has been the primary focal point of the offense. But while both teams have their individual playmakers, each coach points to team growth as the key to getting them in the playoff hunt this year.
“Our team's overall understanding of the game of football has been the key,” Woods said. “Understanding where they're supposed to be, and knowing why they're doing the things we tell them to do, that's what we've been doing, and what we need to continue to improve.
“In my mind, win or lose, we've accomplished a lot this year, and I'm proud of them either way.”
But the players aren't thinking about losing.
“I haven't been to the playoffs since I've been in high school,” said John Marshall senior Devion Smith, one of the team's top playmakers at receiver. “Some of those guys (at Centennial) are my friends, some of them are my cousins. But we're just trying to battle and get the ‘W.' Two teams going at it trying to get that spot in the playoffs.”