It's hard to imagine a team that is 8-1-1 and winners of five straight games is under the radar, but that's exactly how the Irwin County Indians feel.
The Indians can earn the program's first state semifinal appearance since 1997 with a win Friday night against Johnson County.
But the team also feels they can earn the recognition of the rest of the state.
"We feel like we don't get any respect at all," says senior center Cam Morgan. "It just motivates us to get better and to do better and show people that we're something"
Head coach Jon Lindsey knows respect comes with winning, something the Indians have done plenty this season.
"You have to earn that respect. Everybody respects Clinch County, Charlton County, and Wilcox County, and we do as well, because they've won," says Lindsey. "They know how to win, and we're still learning how to win."
The rains forced the Indians indoors Tuesday as they prepared for Friday's quarterfinal matchup with Johnson County.
As much as the Indians would love to earn state respect, Lindsey is focusing on taking another program step.
He says reaching the semifinals would do just that.
He knows that step won't be easy with a good Trojans team traveling to Ocilla Friday.
"If you're evenly matched, it's going to come down to one or two plays. I think this Friday night will be the exact same way," he says. "It's going to be a one or two play difference, and we've got to outeffort them."
The Indians say the message all week has been about effort.
"[Coach Lindsey] just said come out and execute, play our best, play Irwin County football," says Indians' athlete Jakyron Young.
The Indians and Trojans kick off Friday night at 7:30 in Ocilla.
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