The postseason doesn't come around often at Albemarle.
Often -- as in decades.
But the 2013 Patriots broke that trend, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in ten seasons.
Albemarle (6-4) is the No. 9 seed in the Region 5A North playoffs and will travel to No. 8 seed Falls Church Friday.
For Mike Alley and company, this week has been one that has taken some getting used to.
"It felt odd when we came out here for practice (Monday)," Alley said. "The kids were so excited because they're not used to being here in the postseason."
"This is more than I could have ever dreamed of," senior Richard Deloria added. "I never imagined me or anyone in this spot right now. I think it's a dream come true for all of us and we're going to make the most of it."
"It's exciting," fellow senior Drake Bryant said. "We've got a great opportunity Friday and we've never been accustomed to that here at Albemarle so everything's new territory to us but we're ready."
Albemarle is hitting the road when it very easily could have been hosting this week.
The Patriots were riding a four-game win streak and looked to have a home playoff berth wrapped up heading into last week's regular-season finale at Orange County.
But the Hornets stung the Patriots and any chance they had of hosting a playoff game.
"We came off the bus flat," Bryant said. "So we're taking that up to Falls Church that we can't come off the bus flat. We've got to come off on all cylinders or what happened last Friday will happen again."
Home or away, a playoff game is cause for celebration for Albemarle, and a pre-season goal satisfied.
"Every team wanted to make playoffs," Bryant said. "This year we put in the work and we've got a great class of seniors and our juniors stepping up and playing, so we've all put it together this year. That's what it takes to get to the playoffs and we're putting in the effort."
"We just wanted to see how well we could do and to come out and have a winning season -- that's also been a long time for us -- it's just a great feeling, and I feel great for our kids," Alley explained.
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