‘This is the finale’: Highland Springs head coach Loren Johnson looks ahead to state championship battle on Saturday

8Sports Blitz High School Sports Updates

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — After a full spring season of COVID-19 precautions and new guidelines, the Highland Springs Springers have made it to the grand finale: the 5A Football State Championships.

A shiny trophy isn’t the only pristine element to the title game, the Springers will also want to capitalize on achieving a perfect 10-0 overall record for the season.

Head coach Loren Johnson said, although winning the region championship was amazing, his boys are focused on the new task at hand.

“We have to focus on what is important right now. In the post-season, you have to finish the deal. The expectations are really high for us here,” Johnson said. “The number one thing is, when you get this close, you don’t want to be the team that comes home without a trophy. This is the finale. There’s only one team that’s gonna be happy at the end of the game.”

After reaching the state championship game in five of the last six years, Johnson said this trip means something different after a hard last two school years.

“They haven’t had a prom and they missed a lot of things through their junior and senior year, and to culminate their season with a victory in a pandemic environment, it would be the greatest joy to see them off with a win,” Johnson said.

Highland Springs High School will be upgrading to a new building in the fall. Principal Kenneth White calls the school, ‘HS2,’ and Johnson said signing off this chapter with a state championship would take the football team seamlessly into the beginning of a new chapter.

“Schools are only built like once every hundred years,” Johnson said. “We want to make a statement and a long-lasting memory and go into the new school on a high note.”

Stone Bridge High School enters the contest 8-0 overall and won’t go down without a fight. Johnson said the program should be proud of what they have accomplished.

“They’re a powerful team. They got a lot of points,” Johnson said. “They just scored their 10,000th point under their coach’s tutelage. They haven’t won a title in a long period of time so they are going to come in with guns blazing. We will give them a ball game.”

In Virginia, six teams can win the state championship — and these two battle it out for the 5A title for the fourth time on Saturday at 2 p.m. Highland Springs won the previous three matchups (2015, 2016, 2018).

8News will be there to bring you all the action.

Highland Springs’ Head Coach Loren Johnson

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