ONEONTA, AL -
Oneonta High School's football team returns to the Class 4A State Championship game for a third straight season.
But, the Redskins are still in search of their first state title since 2004. That's when Hoover's Josh Niblett was head coach.
"It drives us, it motivates us this year," Oneonta linebacker Ethan Boyd said. "We all think this year is going to be different."
This season was almost derailed before it even began. Seven players missed at least one game due to injury during the first half of the season. But Oneonta rebounded from a season-opening loss to win 13 games in a row.
"We were all excited when this season started," Oneonta head coach Don Jacobs said. "Then all of a sudden it’s a downer losing all of your kids, not knowing who's going to be playing and when you're getting them back."
"(Wide receiver) Jalen Johnson tore his ACL in the jamboree game," Boyd said. "That's a big loss for us. He's our star player."
Oneonta is led by sophomore quarterback Ko Powell, who passed for three touchdowns and ran for another in last week's semifinal win against Munford. The 'Skins look for more of the same in their title shot against number one Charles Henderson.
"Charles Henderson is a blitz team," Jacobs said. "They like to do a lot of man and a lot of blitz. Last time I looked, there's not anybody assigned to the quarterback."
"They're linebackers and really good, and they're offensive line is really good," Oneonta offensive lineman Blake Bean said. "But I think we will be able to run the ball on them."
Oneonta has the ability to score in more ways than one. The Redskins have scored 15 touchdowns off either turnovers or kick returns this season.
Oneonta will kickoff against Charles Henderson at 11 a.m. on Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.