HURLEY, MS (WLOX) - The East Central High School Hornets football team hasn't lost a game this year, and the entire community is buzzing with excitement. The team plays for a state championship this weekend.
The signs of success are everywhere at East Central. Banners line the hallways. School is a fun place to be these days. Winning will do that, according to head football coach Seth Smith.
"I hope it boosts the morale. When you come in our school, when you walk in, you feel a positive vibe. Everyone likes to be a winner, be associated with a winner," Smith explained.
The players feel it too. One is star running back Tony Brown.
"Every day I come here, it's just great. I wake up and realize I'm going to Oxford on Saturday, and it's an amazing feeling," said Brown.
"They're excited for us. We're 13-0, and most of them plan on coming up Saturday and watching us," said safety Andrew Seward.
Success on the football field may translate to success in other areas, too. Jim Hughey is the Principal at East Central.
"I also look for it to affect the way we perform when it comes to academics. Everyone is excited. Everyone has a part," Hughey said.
Some of the students have a personal connection to the team. That includes Hensley May.
"It's pretty awesome. I've always dreamed of this. My dad was a coach, and I've always grown up with football. I'm just excited about them, ready to watch them," said May.
At the local breakfast counter, they aren't talking politics these days. They're talking pigskin.
"Well, that's kind of the talk of the town. Most of the town went up to the last game in Poplarville, and I'll tell you, I have not seen that many people at a high school game in a very long time," Hornets fan Harold Underwood said.
The coaches are certainly pumped, the players are pumped, the faculty is pumped, and the student body is pumped. Perhaps the most pumped of all are the seniors who went from seeing a 1-10 football team just a few years ago to the incredible winner that the Hornets have become today. Ellie Saget is one of those seniors.
"It's just so exciting to watch them work hard at every game and be able to win, and it's just so exciting, especially my senior year," said Saget.
Class disruptions aren't normally tolerated, but these aren't normal times, as one class erupts into a "Go Hornets" chant.
The Hornets play Noxubee County for the 4A state title Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. in Oxford. You can watch the big game live on Bounce TV, channel 13.3.