DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The prep work has begun for the Mainland High School football team. The Buccaneers have a date with Lake Wales for the Class 3S state championship game in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday, Dec. 16.
“It feels great,” head coach Travis Roland said. “I feel like we’re back where we’re supposed to be. Our kids are doing a great job. I think we’re handling this bye week the right way but still getting after it. Just thankful, man, and grateful to our city. Grateful to our community for supporting us. The kids are playing hard and are focused.”
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Mainland comes into the state title game 11-3. Despite the tough losses, the players are united for the ultimate goal.
“Everybody be like family,” running back and wide receiver Ajai Harrell said. “Everybody (is) like brothers. We treat each other like one of our own and hold each other accountable.”
Coach Roland, who played and captained the Buccaneers, knows what it takes to win the title. The last state title for Mainland was in 2003, when Roland was on the team.
“Knowing what it feels like and having done it before, I know that this is something that will stick with them for a lifetime,” Roland said. “I know it’s something that they can look back on and say to themselves, ‘I committed myself to something, and I was able to achieve the ultimate goal.’”
The opponent for the Buccaneers in Lake Wales is undefeated this season. The team knows it will take everything they have to become state champions.
“Stay disciplined,” linebacker Ty Richmond said. “(A) disciplined team always wins. That showed all playoffs. Skill will take you far, but discipline will take you the distance.”
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