BAY ST. LOUIS -- St. Stanislaus has adopted the term "brick by brick" and built its season around taking each day, each opponent, each week one at a time.
The Rockachaws have spent the last 12 months dreaming about Saturday. And not just a return trip to the Class 4A championship game, but, more specifically, a chance at redemption against Noxubee County.
"Everything we've done between now and Dec. 6 (2014) have been to get us to this point. Now we're here and it's time to finish the job," SSC coach Bill Conides said before Monday's practice. "They're a very good team, don't get me wrong, and I'm not underestimating them by any stretch of the imagination.
"They're really, really good, but this is what we've been preparing for so now it's time to go to work."
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The path to Oxford
Starting in the spring, the Rockachaws (11-3 overall) started "building the path to Oxford."
Each practice, a brick was awarded to a player, coach or position group for exemplary work. The idea was to symbolize the team's trip back to the state championship game, which is being hosted at Ole Miss' Vaught-Hemingway Stadium this year.
The actual path of red bricks is only about four feet long and three feet wide, but it symbolizes the Rockachaws' much larger journey.
"You build a road, you build a wall, a house, whatever it may be, and you build it brick by brick. The idea is we've always believed in 'the process.' You can have a goal in mind, which is way down there, but you can't get there until you take that first step. So we're going to take this first step and make it the best first step possible," Conides said. "We need to build a path to where we're going to go. Noxubee is obviously at the end of the road, but we're not going to get there overnight."
The path, built in the corner of the team's football field, has been such a long process in the making that grass has sprouted through the cracks and grown tall with time. What started with one brick on the first Monday of spring practice has turned into a path 116 bricks strong.
"Every day the road just kept getting bigger," SSC quarterback Myles Brennan said. "Finally, to come back after winning South State and to lay the brick, now we have one brick left to lay and we're hoping to finish the job."
Learning from '14
In last year's title game, Noxubee County (11-4) super recruit Jeffery Simmons blocked a punt right out of the gate to set the tone for the 48-27 game. The Rockachaws are focused on eliminating mishaps in Round II.
"I really feel like if we make the stops on defense or force a turnover - which we weren't able to do last year - and make plays on special teams we'll win the game," Conides said. "In any football game that's what normally makes the difference."
The Rockachaws will focus defensively on limiting athletic quarterback Timorrius Conner. The senior has completed 68 percent of his passes for 2,721 yards and 21 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. He's also rushed for a team-high 404 yards and six touchdowns.
"He's a really good player. He can run. We've got to do a good job of containing him," Conides said. "We've got to cover all of the gaps because he's a dynamic enough player where he can stick his foot in the ground and he's gone. We've got to do a good job of No. 1 getting pressure on the quarterback, but No. 2 also keeping him contained and not let him break."
Kickoff Saturday is set for 3 p.m. The game will be televised on WLOX Bounce 13.3 and streamed online with a subscription at misshsaa.tv.