“Oh, it was vital because it showed who really wanted to be out on the field. It showed how hard we wanted to play and it showed how hard we did play," CCS running back JaMichael Baxter said.

The Chattanooga Christian Chargers are not shying away from the competition in 2019. They started the season against McCallie, Baylor, and defending state champion Whitwell. Like Baxter said, you're going to find out who wants to be here, but also, help yourself in the long run.

"We won't play anybody as good as McCallie and Baylor throughout the season, so we played the best we're going to play and we need to keep doing what we need to do and not think about the competition. Just get better for us," CCS quarterback Sam Hall said.

Ever since making the jump to Division-II-AA in 2017, the Chargers have found themselves stuck in the middle of the pack when it comes to their region. So there was a bit of a thought process when bulking up their early season schedule.

"We got a lot of depth. We feel good about 24-26 kids on our team right now that you can play on a Friday night and can help you do something. I think that's the most numbers we've had that we feel like can play on Friday, since I've been here," CCS head coach Mark Mariakis said.

They'll put these early showdowns to the test come Friday night when they welcome a new look Boyd Buchanan team, who's a bit different than the one they've beaten the last two seasons. This year's game could be the difference between middle of the pack, or top of the food chain.

"Everybody wants to win. They want to win we want to win. It's just, we got to outplay them. We got to want it more."