Saturday night West Point (Miss.) begins its quest for a third consecutive Class 5A State Championship.
The Green Wave lost several of its key components from the last two state title teams leaving junior fullback Mario Virges to continue to carry the torch.
"Everybody's been saying since we lost Ken-Ken (Lakenderic Thomas), J.Cox (Justin Cox) and all the other seniors that we're sorry," Virges said. "It motivates me that they say that. We've just got to do what we've got to do and win another state championship."
Even though Virges is just a junior, he has already assumed a leadership role. The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder carried 25 times for 107 yards (4.1 avg.) and also hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass helping lead West Point to a 14-1 record.
"My role on this team is to be a leader," Virges said. "When somebody is down, I've got to lift them up."
The Green Wave will be tested right from the jump Saturday squaring off against defending national champion and Class 6A title winners South Panola.
"I've been looking forward to it this whole summer," Virges said. "I've been working out this whole summer for this one game."
Recruiting is just beginning for Virges, who expects to start receiving mail soon from Mississippi State. His older brother, Curtis Virges is a redshirt freshman defensive tackle for the Bulldogs and played on the 2009 state championship team at West Point.
Virges stated that he liked MSU's offense because "They are all about power and running the football".
Like many do, Virges has aspirations of being a tailback even though he plays fullback in high school and also where he projects at the next level.
"I'd like to play running back though," Virges said. "I like busting holes but I also like running folks over down the field so I'd like to play running back."
Last weekend in a jamboree game against Louisville at Davis Wade Stadium on Mississippi State's campus, Virges showed off his running skills with a 4-yard touchdown run and helped the Green Wave chew up 199 yards on 22 carries.