MANATEE COUNTY – “Everybody’s hype for this game. They’ve always been our rival and everybody wants to take back the Headmasters Cup,” says ODA Wide Receiver Ethan Bertrand.

It’s the battle for the Headmasters Cup Saturday afternoon and a Coral Bay Conference game. On top of it all, it’s a must win for the Thunder to keep their post season hopes alive and they’ve taken it back to their roots for motivation.

“You got to want to win for the guy next to you, the guy in front of you, the guy behind you. Just going out there and showing the pride, the “O” of Out of Door and the Thunder deserve,” says ODA Quarterback Gus Mahler.

The Thunder are looking to feed off the home crowd to provide that spark to put them over the top.

“There’s probably got to be a momentum play that sparks this thing and gets these guys believing that we can do it. With the home crowd behind us, you never know, we just might have a shot at it,” says ODA Head Coach Ken Sommers.

The Falcons are finding motivation elsewhere with the return of senior Mike Burch who hasn’t seen action since 2013.

“He has a heart condition, an enlarged heart and told he could never play again. And his breakout game his freshman year was against ODA and he just got cleared two weeks ago,” says St. Stephen’s Defensive Coordinator Chris Valcarcel.

The Falcons heart and soul returns and despite their success this season they know what’s at stake come their battle at Thunder Stadium.

“Although their good we’re not going to just pass them by. We’re going to play every down to our hardest and every game our hardest,” says St. Stephen’s Outside Linebacker Jett Gillum.

As for ODA, they can’t think of a better game to make a statement.

“When I look around it doesn’t feel like a class 2A environment to me. This year playing St. Stephen’s is going to be all that and much more,” says Sommers.