OXFORD, MS (WLOX) - Huge crowds wearing maroon and frantically ringing cowbells are not a sight usually seen at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. But today, that stadium will be full of excited fans as a South Mississippi team takes the field.
It's the day that the East Central Hornets have eagerly anticipated, the game that will determine it all - the Class 4-A State Football Championship.
The Hornets will take the field against Noxubee County to battle it out for that title and those championship rings today at the home of the Ole Miss Rebels. The undefeated Jackson County team has arrived for their date with destiny.
But first, the team is getting a special honor before today's big game, a classic Ole Miss tradition - walking through The Grove's Walk of Champions.
And that wasn't the only treat in store for the 13-0 Hornets.
Pulling into Oxford Friday evening, the team wasted no time getting ready for their big game. But this practice - held at Lafayette High School - was probably their most favorite one of the entire season. It was one that involved vast amounts of food as the teenage boys stocked up on fuel for the big game.
Cheetos, sandwiches, sports drinks - the Hornets are definitely enjoying the spoils of Championship Week.
"It's awesome," said Cade Miles. "I would not want to be any other place on this earth than right here about to play a state championship."
The mood was definitely light Friday evening, with the team visibly thrilled at the amazing season they've had. But that light mood doesn't mean their heads aren't already in the game.
"We went 13-0, but none of that would matter if we didn't win," said Wyatt Green."Once we get on that field, it's all football from there. We forget about everything and just play the game."
And with only one game left in this historic 2017 season, the Hornets head coach Seth Smith wants to make sure his players are taking it all in and enjoying every moment of Championship Week.
The East Central Hornets will take the field at 3 p.m. today against Noxubee County. Watch the game live on WLOX Bounce channel 13.3 (or channel 456 if you have Cable One.) WLOX sports reporters Patrick Clay and A.J. Giardina are also in Oxford with the team and will be reporting live on the action tonight at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.