There are no homecoming games in the state playoffs. Friday's GISA AAA state championship game between Deerfield-Windsor and Heritage will be a homecoming for Heritage Head Coach Kevin Prisant.
A decade after winning a state championship as a player for the Knights, the 27-year old Prisant is gunning for his first state championship as a head coach against his high school coach.
When 26-year old Kevin Prisant arrived for his first head coaching job at Heritage High last year, the school's parents had their doubts and some jokes at the young coach's expense.
With the Hawks one win away from a state championship, the entire school has nothing but respect for their boy wonder head coach.
"I don't get too many more of the comments about oh you are such a baby! You are so young. You have done this so quickly. Now I am the football coach. Whether I am 26 or 62, they are with me," said Prisant.
Prisant decided he wanted to be a coach when he was playing at Deerfield-Windsor and the Knights players were coaching the elementary school kids in the junior program. He has turned around a Heritage program on what he learned from Knights Head Coach Allen Lowe and Knights assistant Craig Rhoads.
Mentors Kevin has sought advice from over the last decade. "Now that I have hopefully earned their respect and we are past the player/coach kind of deal. We are now colleagues in the profession and they respect me for what I am doing."
Lowe said "It is great for him. I know they are extremely excited. This is the first time they have been here. At the same time our kids are excited. It not about him. It is not about us. It is about these kids and their chance to win a state title. I am hoping our guys play well."
The Heritage players say their young coach is refreshing change. They call him a player's coach who can relate to what they are feeling and say Prisant's "Be Somebody" motto is the rallying cry for every member of the team.
"I remember the first day we came in the summer before last season and we had 12 guys in summer practice. So we have come a long way in the second year of football with him," said Joe Bonner, Heritage QB.
Prisant says Friday's state championship game at Deerfield-Windsor is about his players and not their coach. The Heritage players know what this game means to their coach.
"It is homecoming party and he has got his family and friends all there to see him. So it is a huge deal for him. If anything, we want to win it for him just as much as we do for the team," said Candler Rich, Heritage RB.
"It means a lot to me just because I get to go back in front of family and friends. I wouldn't care if we had to go who knows where to play. If you are playing in this last game, it is going to be fun." said Prisant.
Deerfield-Windsor and Heritage play Friday night at Webb Memorial Stadium.
Check out WALB.com during the game for updates and catch the highlights and post game action Friday night at 11 in the Locker Room Report.
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