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A year that began with so much promise comes to an end tonight for the East Oktibbeha football team.
Still, the Titans feel they have plenty to play for when they kick things off at 7 p.m. on the road in Weir.
"We haven't had a winning record since 2002, so the kids are looking forward to the game," said East Oktibbeha head coach Randy Brooks. "Plus most of our seniors have been in the program for four years and this will be their last game. So winning would be a big thing for us and the kids."
The Titans, who enter tonight's contest with an overall record of 5-5 and 3-4 in Class A, Region 3, will have quite the test against the Lions, who are led by running back Jimarrian Woodard.
"He's a big running back that has rushed for over 1,000 yards this season," said Brooks. "He's very competitive. We'll have to keep him in mind."
Woodard has helped lead Weir to an overall record of 4-6, with a division record of 3-4 coming into tonight's game, which will determine fifth place in the district.
Regardless of who wins the matchup, neither team will get the chance to play in the postseason this year, a fact that is especially tough for East Oktibbeha to swallow after the Titans began the season winning five of their first six games before losing the last four in a row.
"We started out really strong because we didn't have that many injuries," said Brooks. "Then the injury bug hit."
Though being banged up took its toll on East Oktibbeha, Brooks said the injuries did help him prepare some guys who could see significant playing time next year and in years to come.
"One of the positives was that a lot of young guys got a lot of playing time," said Brooks. "That helps because next year is going to be a rebuilding year for us because we're going to lose such a large number of seniors."
Brooks hopes his upperclassmen take advantage of their chance to end their careers with a victory tonight, something that Brooks says can only happen if East Oktibbeha puts together a complete game.
"We've been focusing on finishing strong and having a good game in all three facets â€“ the kicking game, the offense and the defense," said Brooks.