For the final time, in their all-red uniforms, they walked across the red plush carpet laid across the track to their school bus. The uniforms and the bus-ride tradition are being retired in Friend. The Bulldogs played their final football game Wednesday, losing 34-10 to Wynot in the Eight Man-2 second round.

With the clock ticking down, it reached now-or-never time for Kenesaw’s Brielle Schneider. So the senior made her move, one that would lead to the Class D-1 No. 8 Blue Devils making their first state tournament win a memorable one.

The cameras followed Zemua Baptista on Thursday. The bright lights, the questions, the attention. He’s used to it. Baptista, a senior at Friend, moved into the semifinals at the state meet, pinning two opponents. Baptista has reached three championship matches, winning the past two.

Throughout the summer, The World-Herald will prepare you for the high school football season with a story previewing a new team or teams each day. This week, Eight Man-1 is featured, with the Nos. 5 through 10 teams today.

Winning the Class D state team title has become commonplace for Amherst, but it certainly isn’t old hat. “Somebody asked me if it ever gets old. No way, it never gets old,” Amherst coach Tyler Herman said. “It was an overall team effort this weekend, bringing 13 guys down here and getting 10 in the medals.”

The first time these two teams met, the combined total offense for the game was just over 235 yards. That was not the case Thursday night when Friend rolled up 477 yards, 432 on the ground, and blasted the Cross County Cougars in the first round of the Class D1 state playoffs 62-8.

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