It's been a few years for Stratford head Coach Mark Farriba.
The current Eagles head coach is also - a former - Eagles head coach. Farriba left the school in 2006 to coach at Prince Avenue Christian in Athens, Ga.
He led Prince Avenue to the state finals in 2012, but left the field empty handed. Coach Rodney Collins retired from Stratford not long after that.
"It just kinda worked out," said Farriba.
That's when Farriba decided to make a move away from Athens.
"Any time you move you always have mixed emotions. You develop relationships wherever you are," said Farriba.
Farriba's emotions didn't stay mixed for long. Home was calling.
"I was excited. This is home. This is my alma mater. I have a lot invested in Stratford."
A few of Coach Farriba's investments decorate the Stratford campus. He's won multiple state championships as a player, in the early 1970's, and one as a coach, in 2004.
Stratford is 2-0, but its next opponent is its toughest yet. In 2012, Deerfield Windsor won its third state title in five years.
"They have a lot of confidence," said Farriba. "They're tough, hard nosed guys."
Deerfield's no stranger to Coach Farriba. He's played and coached against the Knights several times in his career. But, no two teams are the same. This will be the first time that this group of Eagles will take on the squad from Albany, Ga.
"Their team is different from their team last year. Our team is different from our team last year. I don't really worry about what happened last year," said Farriba.
It's a new year. The possibilities are wide open.
"The right people come together and ya know. Anything could happen," said Farriba.
Coach Farriba's battles against the Deerfield Knights date back to his playing days, when he first played varsity football in 1970.
The two teams will square off at Stratford Academy this Friday evening at 7:30. Be sure to catch coverage of that game on 13WMAZ's Football Friday Night.
Follow 13WMAZ's Wes Blankenship on twitter: @Wes_nship