NORFOLK, Va. - Prior to Tuesday's practice, the fourth-to-last of his decorated high school career, Maury senior wide receiver/defensive back KeAndre Lambert took time out on the turf.
"I’m just taking it all in," Lambert explained to News 3. "It's my last week of high school football. I remember stepping in here, on the field, as an eighth grader. To be honest, I didn’t envision this – but Coach McCain came over here and switched the program around."
Coach McCain is Commodores bench boss Dyrri McCain, who has Maury playing for a state title in his third year on the job.
"For it to play out like this, it’s just a blessing," McCain admitted. "I have a great group of kids, and I knew that when I took the job. They’ve done nothing but bought in and have been awesome the whole time."
And McCain would know about what makes a Maury player special. He was one - graduating in 2007 from the school he now coaches.
"I actually sat in those same seats those guys sat in, walked to that same school," McCain recalled. "I know everything these guys have dealt with – home issues, stuff that doesn’t even have to do with football."
But during his days as a Commodore, McCain never won a state title. No Maury football team has won a VHSL championship since 1939.
"He deserves it more than us," Maury senior defensive lineman/offensive lineman Darian Varner admitted. "He takes his time out of everything, puts money into everything."
Saturday's Class 5 title game against Stone Bridge will be played at Hampton University, Coach McCain's college alma mater.
"Coaching his old team at his old team, it’s a blessing," Lambert said.
"They want to take their coach back to his school and try to get it done for him," McCain explained. "The unselfishness in me though, I want to do it for them."
If Maury does complete its storybook season Saturday, KeAndre Lambert might not be the only Commodore to pause and take it all in.