It's final exams week at Bishop England High School.

On Saturday, members of the boys soccer team face a different test.

The Bishops go after their sixth consecutive Class AA state championship when they battle Batesburg-Leesville at 2 p.m. at Columbia's Memorial Stadium.

Coach Ed Khouri gave his team the day off Thursday because the seniors faced a government exam today. The team will have a light workout late today and then it's on to Columbia, a place that has become the Bishops' home away from Daniel Island during the state playoffs.

Khouri explained his decision to give the top-ranked Bishops a break just before their biggest game of the season.

"Graduation comes first," he said. "Academics come first at Bishop England. I might go out on a limb by giving them (Thursday) off. But that's the way we do business."

The Bishops are all business on the pitch. They have won 14 state titles, which trails Irmo's 15 for the top spot on the state's all-time list. Bishop England is aiming for its sixth straight title and six players -- Brandon Costa, Joseph Santos, Zach Epstein, Grayson Puckett, James Baldwin and Brant Morrison -- are hoping to claim their fourth state championship rings.

Saturday's opponent is new to state championship match play. Since 1997, Bishop England has played either Chapin, Emerald or Walhalla in every state championship match. Emerald was the opponent and victim the last three seasons.

"Fresh blood is good for us," Khouri said. "That should inspire us to play to the best of our ability. I think we'll rise to the test. They have three all-state players and they score a lot of goals."

The Bishops enter the game with a 20-4-1 record, but they have won 13 of their last 14, losing only to Pinewood Prep. The Bishops beat Class AAAA power Wando twice and recorded eight shutouts during the stretch, with Costa finally healthy and playing full time at keeper.

"We struggled early in the season with Brandon out of the lineup," Khouri said. "Getting him back gave us a big lift. As coaches, we try to get the best out of them and have them improve every day. That's the direction we're heading in."

Khouri said winning never gets old, but finding ways to motivate the team can get a little tricky.

"We have to have them mentally ready to step up," he said. "It's mostly psychological. We have to keep them fresh, off-balance and ready to go. That's our job."

And the paycheck is usually a state championship trophy.