One more win.
That's all that separates both the Upson-Lee Knights and the Lady Knights from a region title.
Friday night the Knights and Lady Knights will welcome the Hardaway Hawks to Matthews Field as they both look to sweep region play for the first time in school history.
While this is not a new thing for Coach Jamie Joiner's Lady Knights' squad, which won the 2001 region title and lost last year's region championship game by one goal in overtime, it is for the Knights.
Even though the Knights have put together a remarkable 18-2 record in region play over the past two years, they haven't been able to win a region crown. And that's something they want to change Friday night.
The Knights will enter Friday night's game with the best record in the region and ranked No. 9 in the state. But the biggest story might be last Thursday night's win over Shaw. Upson-Lee had never beaten Shaw in soccer before last Thursday night, but now they have, and that puts them just one win away from the school's first region title in boys' soccer.
"The boys deserve to win this one," Upson-Lee coach John Sisterson said. "They have played so well all year. This is the best soccer team in school history. I feel that we are the best team in the region. If we go out and play like we are capable Friday night, I think we will win. There is no doubt in my mind that we can beat Hardaway, we just have to play like we can. This game is the most important game of the season."
Forget the season, Friday night's game might be the most important game in Upson-Lee soccer history. While the Knights have had chances to win region titles each of the last two years, none were as realistic as this year.
"We felt like we should have beaten Shaw the last two years, but we didn't," Coach Sisterson said. "That makes us hungry for this year. We want this game."
And if this year's history is any indication, what the Knights want, the Knights get.
Upson-Lee has more-less walked through its season up to this point with the only blemish on the record being a controversial 3-2 overtime loss to Warner Robins two weeks ago. But even that loss, which saw five Knight starters not play because of injury, didn't dampen the Knights' region title run.
Following their loss to Warner Robins, the Knights were able to play without two starters and easily knock off region rival Shaw 3-0 in the first 43 minutes of last week's game. And that has Coach Sisterson and his team very optimistic for Friday night's game.
"If we play like we did against Shaw and Griffin, then I think this game could get ugly," Coach Sisterson said. "We are capable of frustrating the other team and when we do that, they just give up."
On the season the Knights' offense, which is one of the most potent in the state, has scored a total of 120 goals while allowing just nine. The Knights have allowed more than two goals in a game just twice, the first being a 3-2 win over Colquitt Co. and the other being the 3-2 loss to Warner Robins, which got their third goal in overtime PKs.
"We just attack and that frustrates the other teams," Coach Sisterson said. "If we are able to play our style against Hardaway, I like our chances."
While the Knights are favored to win their first region title, the Lady Knights aren't.
The Lady Knights have played for the region championship the last two years, winning one, but those two title games were against region rival Columbus. This year the Lady Knights have a new region-favorite to deal with, Hardaway.
Hardaway enters Friday night's game with the Lady Knights ranked No. 8 in the state with a 12-0-1 record while the Lady Knights come into the region title game unranked with a 12-4 record. But the Lady Knights' record is no indication of the way they have been playing when it matters.
Upson-Lee started the season with a 1-0 win over Fayette Co. but then dropped four straight games before entering region play. Once they got into region play, the Lady Knights have been improving and working toward their second region title in three years.
The Lady Knights have walked through region play with an 8-0 mark, including a convincing 3-0 win over arch-rival Columbus. But even with Columbus' talent, Upson-Lee knows just how important this game with talented Hardaway is.
"Hardaway is a very talented team, but I'd like to think we are too," Upson-Lee Lady Knights' coach Jamie Joiner said. "This is the region title game. You couldn't have scripted it any better than this. You play all season and the region championship is on the line in the last week of the season."
Despite facing a team ranked No. 8 in the state that hasn't suffered a loss all season, Coach Joiner feels pretty good about his Lady Knights' chances to spring the upset and win their second region championship in school history.
"If you look at the stats, we are pretty even," Coach Joiner said. "They have beaten some teams worse than we have and we have beaten some teams worse than they did. I think this is going to be a pretty even game. I feel good about it being in Thomaston. If we get a good crowd out to the game, I think the home-field advantage will help us."
And that's something Coach Sisterson was very careful to add.
"This is a great opportunity for both of our soccer teams," Coach Sisterson said. "It would be great to get a full crowd out to the game to cheer us on. It's not very often that both the boys and the girls are playing for a region championship the same night against the same team. There is a lot on the line Friday night, and I think both of our teams deserve to have a good crowd out."
On top of Friday night's showdowns being for the region championship, it's a little more special for three members of the Upson-Lee guys' team. Seniors Jack Sisterson, Kyle McGee and Tony Greene will be playing in their last regular season game as Knights and they will be honored between the Lady Knights' and the Knights' game Friday night. The Lady Knights have no seniors on this year's team.
Kickoff for the Lady Knights' game with Hardaway is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Matthews Field with the Knights following at 7:30 p.m.