Greenback football is off to a 6-0 start and people are beginning to take notice.
The team jumped to first place in the Associated Press Tennessee Prep Football Poll and are beating opponents in convincing fashion.
The Cherokees are averaging 44.5 points per game while allowing just 3.5 for an average winning margin of 41. It is, statistically, the best stretch for the Cherokees since 2002, when the team finished 12-1.
"It's not even a question since I've taken over that this team's playing as good as any team that I've had under my head coaching tenure," Ridge said. "Honestly, I'll have to say its rivaled as good as any team that I've been on staff with so far. They're doing a really good job."
Friday will bring the team its biggest test of the season as they travel to Grace Christian Academy to take on the Rams, which handed Greenback its first loss, 40-0, in 2011.
"They've always been a good team," senior running back Richard Seymour said. "They're aggressive, they're strong, they're fast and no matter what they're always ready to play."
Grace brings a strong defense to the game, having held CAK's high-flying offense to a season-low 27 points in a losing effort earlier in the season. The Rams also have a versatile offense, which Ridge said can strike on big plays or ground it out and play a clock control-style game.
"You can't put yourself in a bad situation," Ridge said. "Their Xs and Os are a little better than the Xs and Os we've been seeing."
Ridge said protecting the football will be a must against a team than has the ability to feast on mistakes.
For Grace, stopping an explosive Greenback offense will be a tall task. The Cherokees ground game, consisting of Seymour, senior quarterback Eric Anderson and sophomore running back and wideout Jordan Anderson, has provided a strong foundation.
The passing attack, with Hunter Cope emerging as a top target, Landon Disney providing a strong option at tight end and other receivers like Brock Moore stepping up, has been a pleasant surprise for Greenback, providing big plays for the offense.
Grace will also need to find a way to score against a defense that prides itself on holding its opponent scoreless, recording shutouts in half of their games this season.
Ridge said he believes the game will come down to which team plays best as a unit in all three aspects - offense, defense and special teams.
"The best team that plays together and executes together is going to be the team that wins," he said. "There are some guys that stand out in this game, some guys we have and some guys they have, but ultimately I think it will come down to more of how each team does managing the game and executing each individual assignment ... that will really determine the outcome."
While Friday's game will be the biggest of Greenback's season to date, the players are doing what they can to look at it as they would any other.
"It's a big game," Eric Anderson said. "We don't try to take anything too serious or too major, but it's definitely a big district rival game."
Seymour said the team is more focused on taking care of what they need to in practice every day leading up to the game, embracing the team's "win today" motto.
"I believe in our players," Ridge said. "I believe our players have what it takes to match up against their players, and as long as we execute the way we have been and don't let any mistakes get in our way, I think we've got a real good shot to win."