OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -
Last year, the St. Martin Yellow Jackets' season came to a close at home against the Gulfport Admirals in the 6A south state tournament.
This year, however, the Jackets can lose to the Admirals in the 6A south state championship game and still go to Jackson for the state title.
That's because the top two teams from the north and south advance to the big house.
According to St. Martin head coach Charlie Pavlus, everyone expects the Provine Rams to defeat the Yellow Jackets.
That is, everyone except St. Martin.
Playing against a team that is considered better than them is enough motivation for the Jackets heading into the showdown with Provine tomorrow night, as is a chance to keep playing for a state championship.
But an opportunity to face Gulfport again is even more enticing for seniors Ed Simpson and Jamond Franklin, as well as the younger guys like junior Rodrick Sikes and sophomore Stacee St. Julian.
"I would love to because they beat us earlier in the year by two," Sikes said. "That hurt a lot so it'd be great to play them again."
"Last year (as a freshman) I was on the team," St. Julian said. "I wasn't producing or anything but I was on the bench getting experience. Coach always preached that to me. Experience, experience. Soak it up, soak it up. Sitting on the bench watching helped me prepare for this time. This big challenge that we have to face? Hey, I'm ready."
The winner of St. Martin-Provine will face the winner of Gulfport-Meridian.