VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Football is 100%, officially back across the Big Bend and South Georgia as Valdosta State kicked off fall camp Friday morning. For the Blazers, the goal is to play for a National title, like it always has been, and this team is living by three words that are a constant reminder of that.
"Luke 9:51 tells us that Jesus set his face on the way to Jerusalem," said head coach Tremaine Jackson. "We have to set our face on the way to our Jerusalem. Our Jerusalem is McKinney, Texas."
It's three words, and a mission statement for the Valdosta State football team.
"We told our kids, we need that type of focus," said Jackson. "We need that type of laser focus that matters not what's happening, adversity, the heat, what people are talking about us."
"We have to take it day by day, step by step, rep by rep," said senior linebacker Jameon Gaskin. "When we say "set your face" we're saying focus on the now. Set your face to the moment that you're in. If we do that, if we win every day and we win every week, we'll find ourselves in McKinney."
McKinney, Texas to play for a national title. That's where the Blazers want to be.
"The only team that can beat Valdosta State is Valdosta State," added senior quarterback Ivory Durham. "Take it day by day and game by game."
It's a focus that players have bought in to.
"Over the summer, we had a lot of guys here and I think today is building off what we did in the summer," added Gaskin. "Rolling into the season, all these things should carry over."
"When it's time for crunch time, you have to look next to you, you know that's your brother," said Durham. "You know what he's going to do when it's time to crunch down. It's basically getting to know one another."
A bond working towards a common goal.
"I grew up with my grandma, I know a lot of biblical stories," said Jackson. "We try not to throw bible on them, but you do tell them to stories. They can relate to stories, so when we gave them that yesterday, they bought into it, so we're setting our face and trying to get to where we need to get to."
The Blazers open the season Thursday, September 1st when they host Keiser.