LITHONIA, Ga. -- It’s on to the second round of the Team 1-1 playoffs, which is where we find the Arabia Mountain Rams.
It’s the first time in the Lithonia school’s history that they’ll be on their way to a playoff. For team member Brandon Snowball, it’s thanks to the skills of the whole team.
"We have too many play-makers on this team. Offense, defense, special teams…it's everywhere," he told 11Alive Sports’ Melissa Lee.
Take all that talent, mix in a fast-tempo spread offense, a stout defense reminiscent of the '85 Bears, all led by a former NFL fullback, and you've got a winning combination.
"It reminds me of my last year with the Falcons,” Ram's Coach Stanley Pritchett said. “We went to the NFC Championship game. No one thought much of us. We had a new coach. No one thought we would make it that far but we did."
Now Pritchett is the coach and is four years in to building Arabia Mountain into a contender — a school known more for its academics than athletics.
"To stay in school you have to maintain a 2.5 GPA,” said Ram's member Terray Bryant. “With football, we push each other to have the best grades and push each other in the weight room and on the field."
So far, so good.
That balancing act has netted the school a 9-and-2 record and its first trip to the playoffs. Goal number one is in the books, with a new expectation they never expected now on the table.
"It's Dome or nothing for us right now,” Pritchett said. “That's the thing we've been saying since we got to the playoffs. Dome or nothing. So we want to get to the Dome and win a state championship."
It’s pushing the team to work harder than ever.
"Coach is always tells us to visualize success,” Eric Ross said. “If you can see yourself doing it, you can do it. Dome or nothing. We want to go as far as we can, and we know we can do it."
A mindset that will continue to take this team the distance on and off the field.
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