CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The stage is set. Well, actually it won’t be until Thursday. That’s when television trucks and extra lights are expected to roll into Oscar Smith High School for the Tigers’ nationally-televised season opener on Saturday night.
ESPNU will televise the clash between Oscar Smith and Booker T. Washington High School out of Miami, FL; the reigning national champions.
But just hang around the Tigers’ practice field for one day, the intensity is almost at game-level, and it should almost double along with the talent level that will take the field in Chesapeake on Saturday.
“They’re tremendous and they’ve got more speed than we’ve ever seen,” said Oscar Smith Head Coach Richard Morgan, who’s team lost to Centreville in the 6A state championship game last season. Morgan admits his team won’t be the faster one on the field this weekend, but he will have the most sought after recruit in the country.
Josh Sweat, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end is ranked the top recruit in the nation, and is a “freak” according to sophomore quarterback Shawn Mitchell. “There’s nobody else in the country that can do what he can do at his size,” he said.
Sweat isn’t the only threat for the Tigers. Mitchell looked like an upper class-man as a freshman in 2013, and the man he’ll be handing the ball off to is committed to Virginia Tech.
“I’m not nervous at all,” said senior running back DeShawn McClease, “They’re human just like we are. They breathe the same air we breathe. So they can be beat.” McClease will also benefit from the Tigers returning four starters on the offensive line.
Whether or not that will be enough to take down the reigning national champions is unsure, but it’s another opportunity, says Morgan. “The message to my team has been that with every great opportunity, there’s a great accomplishment waiting to be had, and Saturday night’s your chance.”
“I think we’re mentally prepared, physically prepared, the coaches prepared us pretty well. So I think we’re ready for it,” said Mitchell.