"There are pictures on the walls of every team, every player since 1929," senior quarterback Todd Mays said.
Mays' coach, Scott Samsel, is one of those players pictured ... one of those Conquistadors who've never played for a state championship in program's 81 previous seasons.
That all changes at 7 p.m. Friday when Olive Branch plays Petal for the MHSAA Class 6A state championship at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
"These players know they're playing for a lot more than just themselves," Samsel said during Monday's state championship game press conference at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. "There have been a lot of good teams here who've come up short.
"This group has an opportunity to achieve that goal of winning a state championship."
Samsel, who has made coaching stops in Northeast Mississippi at Aberdeen and Lafayette, said past Conquistador teams have been stopped by some powerful programs.
"When we were first moving up it was Starkville, then Louisville and West Point," he said. "Since we've been (in 6A) it's been South Panola.
"It's good to make it to the championship game."
For the record, OB defeated South Panola earlier in the regular season, 24-6, in Batesville.
WHERE TO WATCH
All six state championship games will be televised live on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and streamed live on the MHSAA Network (www.misshsaa.tv).
"They (MPB) do a great job with these games every year," MHSAA executive director Don Hinton said. "We encourage everyone to attend the state championship games at Memorial Stadium, but this a fine option for those who cannot."
Here's the lineup:
11 a.m. - Class 1A: Noxapater (11-3) vs. Shaw (12-2)
3 p.m. - Class 2A: East Marion (13-1) vs. West Bolivar (14-1)
7 p.m. - Class 6A: Petal (10-4) vs. Olive Branch (14-0)
11 a.m. - Class 3A: Hazlehurst (13-1) vs. Charleston (13-2)
3 p.m. - Class 4A: Laurel (13-2) vs. Lafayette (15-0)
7 p.m. - Class 5A: Picayune (12-2) vs. Starkville (12-2)
The MHSAA Network streamed this fall's state swim meet, state volleyball championships and highlights from the state cross country meet for the first time.
Petal head coach Steve Buckley played on the last team - South Natchez - to win a Big 8 Conference championship in 1980. The next season, the MHSAA went to a class system to determine state champions.
In years prior, the Big 8 champion was regarded as the state's best. The conference's lineup included all the state's large schools.
South Natchez was also the first team to win the state's AA championship in 1981, defeating Starkville 21-6.
The Colonels' head coach during the two title seasons was Booneville native Ed Reed.
The former three-sport standout for the Blue Devils compiled a career record of 280-80-3 in 36 seasons.