Malone, FL---The Malone Tigers are getting set to load up the bus and head to Lakeland for yet another trip to the state finals, though it's been a little while since the Tigers nailed down the most recent of their 13 state championships.
The Tigers with a 25-4 record and two playoff wins over Cottondale and Paxton, will play in the 1A state semi's Wednesday at noon eastern against a 26-1 Chiefland team. Head coach Steve Welch plans a light workout before they leave Wednesday morning.
"We're gonna come up in the morning and have an early morning shoot around and just try and get the guys, get them focused before we head down. Kind of get another quick tuneup in. You know just get together and have a little fun tomorrow morning. Just remind everybody that we're going to obviously have a good time but at the same time we have business to attend to and hopefully go down there and get the job done."
Coach Welch a member of the 1991 Malone team that won it all, but this is his first experience in Lakeland as a coach!
Naturally he's leaning on other Malone coaches who've been there, including current Graceville coach Matt Anderson, who won four titles at Malone between 96 and 99!
"Obviously me and him, I played for him, he was a coach for me." says coach Welch. "And he's a really good resource I have as far as input and little pointers and ideas he picked up. They went so many times I'm sure if it could have went wrong it did. And he's done a really good job of helping me recognize things that could be a problem."
Malone looking for it's 14th state championship, which is second all time, behind only Miami High's 18 titles. St. Joe third on that list with 8!
The last title coming in 1998, and in fact it was 1999 the last time Malone made it to the state finals, so a long drought ends this week.