Now, the title defense becomes real.

Stephenville FAITH has cruised through much of the regular season and has not been tested in weeks, but now the top-ranked Knights must prepare for the pressure of do-or-die playoff situations as they look to defend their Texas Christian Athletic League Division II state championship.

After enjoying a bye through the opening round of the playoffs, the Knights begin their defense this week when they host Williamson County Home School - known in TCAL as WILCO - at 7 p.m. Friday in Bluff Dale.

The teams have one common opponent in Weatherford Express. WILCO topped Express 76-66 two weeks ago and the Knights invoked the mercy rule on Express, 56-6 on Sept. 28, as part of their ongoing 18 game win streak.

WILCO - a winner in five of its last six - is led by senior spread back Joe Diesing, who has completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,619 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 473 yards and nine scores.

The WILCO defense is paced by Isaac Lerma with 98 tackles and freshman Chandler Murabito with 87. Abraham Platzer has 70 stops and 12 sacks.

The winner faces Tyler HEAT or Corpus Christi Annapolis next week.