Each of the last two seasons, the boys' soccer teams at McCracken County and Marshall County have been the First Region runners-up after losing to Calloway County in the championship game.
On Wednesday, the Mustangs and Marshals will play at Mercy Health Field for a First Region title, following 4-1 wins over Murray and Paducah Tilghman, respectively on Monday night, in each of their semifinal games.
On each team's radar is a meeting between the two on Aug. 31 at Colburn Field, where the Marshals escaped with a 1-0 win.
Marshals' striker Bryson Penn did not play in that match, the first of almost 10 that he'd miss with a knee injury. McCracken forward Caleb Madison left it with a foot injury that would require surgery and sidelined him until last Friday's First District championship win over Tilghman.
Each had goals in their semifinal victories.
Since then, each team -- perhaps McCracken moreso -- has battled injuries, to an extent. Now, both teams are playing as close as is possible to 100 percent.
"It's awesome," Madison said. "I mean, obviously we're coming back and we're out of shape, but Coach (Michael Wiersema) is getting us back in shape. He's really easing us in there and giving us a chance to prove ourselves in our spots that we had at the beginning, before we got hurt. The boys, they back you up when you come back. It feels great to have that family behind you."
For Penn, who had 13 goals entering play on Monday, the key to playing in another First Region title game is not to let it go to his and his teammates' heads.
But, the potential for an intense match isn't lost on Penn, either.
"It's going to be a completely different game," he said. "But, I think we're both excited and ready. It's more a mental game than it is a physical one. You get to the point where all you have to do is carry through (with) the things you have all season. Don't psych yourself out. Just stay calm. Just do the little things right and you'll win the game."
First Region Boys' soccer semifinals
McCracken County 4, Murray 1
MC: Jaxon Miller (40')
MC: Dylan Deweese (54'), Nathan King (73'), Caleb Madison (75')
MUR: Charles Pemwell (PK, 80')
MC: 13; MUR: 8
MC: 6; MUR: 7
MC: 13-5-3; MUR: 9-8-2
Marshall County 4, Paducah Tilghman 1
MAR: Bryson Penn (14'), William Lynch (19'), Kiefer Court (23')
MAR: Collin Riley (49')
PT: Ivan Aburto (69')
MAR: 15; PT: 9
MAR: 8; PT: 7
MAR: 19-2-3; PT: 11-9-3