CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The Covenant School football team has spent the past two seasons taking the field while wearing the proverbial target on its back. It's a role the Eagles have come to embrace.
"It's nice to be the hunted because you know that everybody's out to get you, and you know that everybody is going to bring their full heart into your game," senior Cole Finley said Thursday afternoon at practice. "And you're just ready for it, and it's a lot of fun just to know that people are out to get you. Kind of gives you motivation."
"We just play football, and we just have fun out here, and if people want to put a target on our back, I think it's because we just, we grind. We work hard. And we've been winning a lot," said senior Lorenzo Allorto. "And so we know that people want to beat us, and we use it as motivation to just keep going."
No one has been able to beat the Eagles since the Covenant program made the move to eight-man football last season. The unbeaten Eagles steamrolled their way to the inaugural VISFL championship last season, capped by a 76-41 win against St. Anne's-Belfield in last November's title game.
This year's 4-0 team has picked up where last year's left off, averaging 61 points in those four victories. Covenant just hung 82 points on Virginia Episcopal in last Saturday's win at home.
The Eagles anticipate getting their toughest test of the season on Friday night when they make the short trip across town to STAB. The Saints are 5-0 heading into the rematch of last year's championship.
"It's been a while, since last year's playoffs, that we've been super pumped up for an opponent and a game," Allorto said. "It just intensifies practice and intensifies the game preparation. I can speak for our teammates, we're just super excited for Friday."
"We talk about it every week, that we know this game is coming up," said Finley. "We don't focus on it as much, but this week, after that last game, we knew that this game was coming and as soon as that game was over, we were on to the next game, ready for this game."
Covenant hasn't lost to the Saints since 2016, when both schools were still playing 11-man football. In the three meetings between the cross-town rivals last season, the Eagles outscored STAB by an average of 67-25.
The Eagles know Friday is a date that has been circled on calendars at STAB for months. They're also looking forward to writing the next chapter in the rivalry between the VISFL's two current unbeatens.
"They're so fun. In the game, trash talk, all these things happen. After that, we're all friends, we're all brothers," Allorto said of the rivalry. "But it is the kind of thing where it makes the competition go up, and it makes you have a lot more fun."