It's not hard for players from Western Albemarle and Albemarle to find motivation for their Friday Night Endzone Game of the Week.
Players on each side grew up playing pee-wee football together and would love to walk away from Albemarle High School Friday with a win over their rivals.
"We've been playing with these guys since pee-wee football," Western senior Austin Gadient said Thursday. "So we know them, we're friends with them. And of course being a District game there's a lot more on the line, I feel like. So yeah, it's going to be a big game."
Albemarle's inclusion to the Jefferson District does add an extra dimension to the game, but Friday would be an intense matchup without it.
The Warriors have won three of the last four against the Patriots, including the last two, a fact that doesn't sit well with Albemarle.
"The last two years we took a loss. This year should be a good year for us," Albemarle senior Ryan Londree said. "We really want this win. It would mean a lot to us and our community."
A Patriots win would not only push them over .500 on the season, it would also be their first at home. Both of Albemarle's wins this season have come on the road.
And, according to head coach Mike Alley, it could be a boon for the program.
"This is something our kids have been looking forward to since spring, been working very hard. It's a cross-town rivalry, it's a District game so it has all the makings of changing our program," Alley explained. "So I hope we have a good game, our kids are pumped up for it."
Meanwhile its business as usual for Western. The Warriors are 4-0 for the second straight season. Last year they started 9-0 en route to the Jefferson District title.
The Western offense is also chugging along nicely. Kent Henry and company are averaging over 50 points per game their last three.
But the Patriots present a formidable opponent with a stout defense. Combined with what should be a hostile pro-Patriots home crowd, the Warriors know they have their hands full.
"It's a very intense game. These kids all know each other so that adds a dimension to it. But I think it's great for high school football," Western head coach Ed Redmond said. "I think anytime you get a game like this where you have a rivalry game it's really what high school football is all about."
"It's one of those games that -- it was my first game last year here in Virginia -- and certainly I underestimated the intensity of the rivalry so it's a very intense game."