Current players on the Charlottesville football team were in elementary school back in November 2002, when the Black Knights lost to Stone Bridge 45-35 in the first round of the high school playoffs.
The CHS football program hasn't made another postseason appearance since that game. But this year's team will change that when the Black Knights visit Western Albemarle in the Region II, Division 3 quarterfinals on Friday.
"The school's pretty jacked up," Charlottesville coach Eric Sherry said Wednesday at practice. "They've had the past two days off, and today you could tell. There's a lot of talk, and plus our field hockey team is playing in states. So there's a lot of good buzz going around the school right now."
"I think there's definitely more excitement about the football team," agreed senior lineman Gary Nelson. "I think that motivates a little more to work harder, and win this game."
"You just treat it like every other week," said junior lineman Wade Kammauff. "There's a lot of excitement going around the school, but we just try to stick to our routine and keep doing what we've done all year."
The Black Knights finished the regular season 4-6, after losing 30-27 in last Friday's finale at Powhatan. CHS enters the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in Region II, Division 3.
Friday's game will be a rematch from October 12, when Western beat the Black Knights 50-49 in Crozet. CHS scored in the game's final minute, but couldn't convert a go-ahead two-point conversion. A penalty on the ensuing onside kick sealed the loss.
"I'm always excited to play our cross-town rivals," said Kammauff. "It was a close game, disappointing loss. But we're ready to play again, and hopefully this time we'll come out on top."
"It's not so much getting another shot at Western as we're getting to play Week 11," said Sherry, the Black Knights' second-year coach. "I think that's a landmark for where the program is coming from, and where we're headed to. So just trying to prepare, to make sure we put our best foot forward."