It’s a Thanksgiving tradition unlike any other in Mayfield, Kentucky. On Thanksgiving morning, it’s time for football practice.

For the tenth-straight season, and for the 17th-time in Joe Morris’ 20 years as head coach at Mayfield, his Cardinals are using Thanksgiving to put the finishing touches on preparations for Friday’s state semifinal match-up with Walton-Verona.

This morning, the mood was light at War Memorial Stadium as the Cardinals got in one final practice. The team then hopped on the bus to the greater Cincinnati area about 3:00pm Thursday afternoon.

Mayfield has been #1 in the state all season long and, at 13-0, it has been remarkably smooth sailing for the Cardinals for most of the season, with a couple exceptions.

The first week of the season, Mayfield rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Union City 43-27. Then in the final week of the regular season, the Cardinals shook off a poor first half to beat Caldwell County 31-14. Those were the only two teams that stayed within 24 points of Mayfield all season long.

Despite that, Morris says he’s not worried about how his team will react if they’re faced with adversity Friday night.

“We played a very good Caldwell County team that we were tied with at the half, and a very good Murray High team in the regional finals,” Morris said. “We’ve played some good football teams, but we’ve played some pretty good football, except for that first half against Caldwell County where we turned it over five times. Second half we played pretty well against a really good football team. I think our guys have been tested all year long. Yes, we loaded up the front half of the schedule with some great teams. With Paducah Tilghman, McCracken County, teams like that, Hopkinsville — they make us better for this time of the year.”

Mayfield will kickoff with Walton-Verona at 6:00pm Friday night. The Bearcats are 11-2 this season, and are allowing just 7.8 points per game. Mayfield is averaging 48.8 points per game, the most in Kentucky’s Class 2A.