COLLINSVILLE, Miss. -- For some, the day after Christmas provides sometime to wind down, relax, and take it easy.
For the West Lauderdale Girls Soccer team, the day after Christmas means a day at the beach. Literally.
On Tuesday morning, one day after kids were unwrapping gifts under the Christmas tree, head coach Alex George and his team were running through a fitness session on Okatibbee Beach. An escape from the normal practice of drills and scrimmage on grass fields.
"Kind of being away and having this different kind of practice type, it helps us feel more close" said Knights Senior Midfielder Farrah Williamson.
"We get out here, and we get away from that...you know, the mainstream." George said. "Hopefully it's just going to be another element of us just trying to build toward winning another state championship."
As the team begins running up and down the beach, George looks at his phone, proceeding to tell his team that Florence didn't have to practice today, because they beat West Lauderdale.
The Knights had climbed to number one in the MaxPreps National Rankings earlier this month, riding a two-year long winning string in the midst of back-to-back 4A State Championships. The streak came to end with Florence upsetting West Lauderdale, 1-0, less than a week after the Knights were ranked first in the country.
"It gives you a little bit more drive to realize that there's teams out there" George said. "There's obviously going to be a big target on your back. You're going to have to play every game the same way, and you're going to have to carry yourself the same way in order to be successful, and that's just like anything in life."
"His advice was just basically, 'It's over with, you can't do anything about it.'" Williamson said. "We just have to work toward getting better in the future, and not dwell on the loss."
West Lauderdale has played just two matches after the Florence game, playing to a 1-1 tie with Oxford, and beating Newton County, 5-0 in Decatur.
With a month left in the regular season, and just seven matches to play, the Knights hope to send a message to the rest of the 4A teams in Mississippi before the postseason begins.
"We're coming for it. We're going to take that win, and we're going to use it as motivation" George said. "And come February, we plan on being in Jackson. We'll be ready to take on whomever, and try to bring home another State Championship."
West Lauderdale opens the last part of the season January 5th on the road at Brandon.