Every time Greenback takes the field this week, it will be doing so in preparation. There is no opponent waiting on Friday night for the Cherokees, who earned a No. 1 seed.
The perks of being a top seed? Home field advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs, and a first round bye.
"Any chance we get to play at home just gives us a boost," Greenback senior Justin Kuhn said. While the bye is not something that comes at a crucial time for the Cherokees, head coach Justin Ridge said he doesn't see how it could be a disadvantage for his team.
"You get to watch the game that decides who you play the next week," Ridge said. "That's a big time advantage. Mainly, we've got a chance to work on and get better some of the things we need to get better at."
Senior center Tyler Smith will also have a little extra time to work his way back into the swing of things. The lineman participated in his first practice since Oct. 12 Tuesday.
For some on the offense, the bye will add another advantage, the chance to adjust to colder temperatures.
"It was a little tough on the receivers and quarterback," Kuhn said. "I'm glad it's doing it this week, in the bye week, that way we can get prepared for it."
The only difficulty in bye week preparation is that Greenback will not know who they play next until Friday night, when Copper Basin hosts Lookout Valley. Until then they are doing what they can to prepare for either team.
"Our main focus is to just run our offense the way it's meant to be run and then we'll worry about who we play whenever we cross that bridge," senior quarterback Eric Anderson said.
Greenback's offense has averaged 40.1 points per game, and the defense has allowed just 5.4, pitching four shutouts.
"They're not riding off that success," Ridge said of his players. "If anything, they're looking back and saying, man we missed this opportunity. We don't want to know what it feels like to lose again.
"We want to go out and win every game. Every week we're preparing for shutouts and we're preparing to score every time we touch the ball," he said. "That's how we prepare and that's what they expect."
The team's only loss came at the hands of Grace Christian (9-1) by a score of 13-6.
"For this team, I really think that everybody is just still angry that we didn't win the one game," Ridge said. "We really wanted to be undefeated and any time we don't have success, whether it be that we get scored on or don't score on a drive, for us that's a failure. The kids, the group, they really strive for perfection."
For Greenback, the aim for perfection starts on the field where they will spend their afternoons leading up to Nov. 9, where Ridge challenges his team with the motto "win today."
The initials WTD grace shirts worn by the players and is evident in the way they conduct themselves in practice, where they players compete with each other in stretches like they're playing on Friday night.
"We just tell the kids to approach each day like we're just competing to win that day," he said. "If we get better that day, it's going to help us down the road. So far, we've had two good practices, so hopefully the theme continues."
Copper Basin (7-3) hosts Lookout Valley (5-5) 7 p.m. Friday. The winner will travel to Greenback (9-1) Nov. 9. If at any point prior to the state semifinal Moore County (10-0) loses, Greenback would host they game if they are able to advance.
"Obviously we love playing here," Ridge said. "It'll be the first time we've been guaranteed home field advantage until the semifinal since probably 2004. It's been a while."