Greene Co. football teammates play for pride and their coach - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Greene Co. football teammates play for pride and their coach

GREENE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Greene County is buzzing with dreams of gridiron glory as the high school football team prepares to play for the state 4A championship this weekend.

"Lots of excitement around town," Greene County High Principal Scott Bray said. "There are people coming to buy tickets and a lot of talk around town, so we're excited about it and it's a great opportunity for our football team and our community."

This season for the Greene County Wildcats is special for several reasons. One of the most important: The coach has undergone some severe health issues and winning a state title with this group of players would be the best medicine of all.

"Being in my profession, I believe it just helped being a coach cause I had an extended family. I had somebody to lean on," Head Coach Johnny Ainsworth explained. "Of course, I had my family, but to me these kids are my extended family."

The players know this is a big game, not only for them, but for their 16 year veteran coach. 

"As a player, going through spring training, hard work, blood, sweat and tears, it's a great feeling for us to win, especially for Coach Ainsworth and all that he's been through," Tyler McCann said. 

The team has fought an uphill battle all year, but still remains in the hunt for the title. 

"All the people we've played through the playoffs, we've been the underdog in all of them and we've come out on top because we've been pushing ourselves and taking one week at a time," Seth Walters said. 

Since this is the season of giving, what would be the best gift? 

"Certainly a state championship would be the icing on the cake and would be a great Christmas present for our community," Greene County School Superintendent Richard Fleming said.

The Wildcats will face Noxubee County in the title game.  Kick-off is set for 3pm Saturday at Jackson Memorial Stadium.  The game will be televised by Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.  

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