A win over Oak Grove put Meridian High School in the state 5A championship game Friday night in Jackson, Miss., for the second year in a row.
It's not just Meridian's football program that has been successful. Both the girls and boys basketball teams have won championships.
Athletic director Jermaine Brown says that high level of success impacts the entire school.
"When you have a good football program, then the whole year seems to go a lot better. We're talking about test scores, we're talking about discipline. The research is there and I think that's one thing that we'll see within the next two years," Brown said.
But right now the school is hurting academically. Last year, after consistently performing as a level 3, the school's ranking fell to a level 2.
Brown says in the last eighty years, Meridian has won more championships than any other school in the Mississippi. He says no other school can compare and now it's time to take that same spirit into the classroom.
"I think if we can compete well on the academic fields than we can compete well in the classroom. It's gonna take hard work and dedication, but it can be done," Brown said.
Administrators say that's what they're hoping for, that the same focus, drive, and dedication athletes apply to the game can be applied in academics.
"It's every day counts, every lesson counts, every assignment counts. If they have the grades, they have the knowledge to go to college and get that career," said Cheryl Thomas, assistant principal at Meridian High School.
Friday the football team heads to Jackson to face South Panola. Students have until April to improve their academic rankings.