The state's top two high school football teams will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown.
The Xavier Falcons come into the game riding a 30-game winning streak but face what many expect to be their toughest challenge of the season, the Hand Tigers, winners of their last 17 games.
On the eve of the biggest game of his career, Falcons quarterback Tim Boyle of Middlefield talked to Patch about football, family and Friday night's matchup.
PATCH: Xavier brings a 30 game win streak into the game against Hand. How do you stay focused on playing four quarters and beating the Tigers?
BOYLE: I stress that to my team a lot that we're taking it game by game and we're not trying to go for win number 31. We're 4-0 this season, we're not 30-0. We've had team meetings about that and how we're taking one game at a time and not really thinking about next week.
I keep telling my team that it's just another game. The hype might be a little bit different but we don't have much to change.
PATCH: How do you prepare for a game?
BOYLE: Just the normal stuff, breakfast is a little healthier. Just try to get sleep and catching up on your homework and making sure you're doing all the right things during the day. You don't really prepare for this game any different than you do any other game, but the hype behind this game does kind of amps it up a little bit and make it exciting.
PATCH: What's it like to play for Xavier and Coach Sean Marinan?
BOYLE: It's been a blessing. He's a great coach and he really knows what he's talking about. He was a captain at Princeton and he knows a lot about the game. Xavier's just been a blessing. Everyone tried talking me out of it because it had no girls. That really didn't phase me at all because I mainly went [to Xavier] for football and it paid off. Coach Marinan is a great guy and I'm glad that I had an opportunity to play under him and gain his knowledge.
PATCH: You've committed to play for Boston College next fall. Has there been less pressure on you this season?
BOYLE: Definitely. Last year was more pressure in that I had to get the stats and the highlight tapes to impress coaches. This year, it's not even that much pressure, it's just proving myself to the state and to myself that I am worth being a Division I quarterback and proving to my coaching staff and my team that I am a good captain.
I'm enjoying my senior year and I'm not really stressing out, I'm trying to enjoy it.
PATCH: You come from a very supportive family. What's their support meant to you?
BOYLE: It means everything. My sister has been at every home game so far and away game. She's real supportive. Both my parents, they're crazy fans and I'm blessed to have them as my family and they give me support every single day. I've had bad days, even good days and they're there for me 24/7 and I thank God every day.
We're athletic family, my dad played college football, my mom was a cheerleader and played softball. Obviously, Amanda played basketball, soccer and my little sister Amy, she's good at volleyball, she's just an athlete. We all know the game of football and they try to help me out every once in a while. It's a blessing that they're in my life.
PATCH: Any thoughts on tonight's matchup of No. 1 versus No. 2?
BOYLE: It is a unique game because it is No. 1 versus No. 2, but I try not to think of it as anything other than that. It's just a normal, regular season game. I try to tell my team that. The hype and the animosity is a little bit bigger, the crowd will be bigger, the atmosphere's going to be bigger but when it comes down to it it's just another high school team playing another high school team.
You can't let the hype get to you and force you to make bad plays and make bad decisions. It's just a normal game and I tell them that great players make big plays in big games and that's very true so I challenged my team to do that.
We'll see Friday night, I'm very confident that we'll come out with a "W" but only time will tell.