Phoebus football prepared for one final push towards state title

HAMPTON, Va. - History shows that Phoebus football has a prestigious program. In seven state championship appearances, the Phantoms have never lost in any of them.

Phoebus.

But it's been seven long seasons since they've been on this stage.

"It's been a long time coming," said Phoebus head coach Jeremy Blunt. "It's been awhile since we've been in this position."

Since July, the players have been locked in on getting over the hump, one they couldn't get past against Hopewell in the postseason in 2017.

"We've worked our butt off all offseason, so I'm not surprised we're here," said senior defensive back Latrelle Smith.

"It kind of feels like a dream," said Elijah Mitchell.

It will be a full circle moment for Blunt if his Phantoms can pull it out. After helping lead Phoebus to its first state title back in 2001 as an All-Region linebacker, Blunt can now win his first as a head coach.

"It reminds you of how rare the air is at this time of the year," Blunt said.

Phoebus head football coach Jeremy Blunt

"It takes a lot of work as far as planning is concerned.To reflect on that and see how we were able to do as a staff as well, and the kids and their buy in back in January and not miss weightlifting four days a week, and extra work on Saturdays, its just been a humbling experience"

Blunt doesn't plan on using his old highlight reels as inspiration this time around though, although his players know he was real on the field.

"I heard he was a dog," Smith said laughingly.

Instead, Blunt is using just four words to inspire his bunch this season.

"Build your own legacy," he preaches.

Phoebus celebrates a state semifinals win.

"I really want these guys to know what it feels like to set out on something, stand on the tradition, stand on the culture, stand on those beliefs and those guys that have come before you, stand on them firm."

This crop of Phoebus ballers will be ready when all eyes are set on them in Lynchburg.

"It's like we're all on a stage, that one big stage we've all been waiting for," Smith said. 

Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. at Liberty University's Williams Stadium.