Georgiana will host Butler Co. rival McKenzie

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 27, 2003

Georgiana and McKenzie will resemble ghost towns this Friday night as the two Butler County rivals butt heads on the gridiron.

The Georgiana High School Panthers (3n1, 2n1) will host the winless McKenzie Tigers (0n4, 0n3) as all records are brushed aside in a braggin' rights special.

"It's just always a hardnfought football game," GHS Head Coach Keith York said. "They play their best and our kids play their best."

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McKenzie, which finished 12n1 last season including a perfect 10n0 regular season, defeated Georgiana 35n18 last year on their home turf. In fact, the Tigers have been victorious in the past two meetings between the rivals.

That may change this year.

"Coming off a big win like we did last week, we certainly have to guard against a let down," York said. "We talked to them so much about taking it one game at a time and worrying about ourselves. Certainly we study what the opponents do and we rep that stuff in practice. If we just don't turn over and we block and tackle I think we'll do fine. We stress to each individual football player to get better themselves to make us a better team."

The Panthers traveled to Silas last Friday night and upsets topnranked and defending state champion Southern Choctaw (3n1, 2n1) putting an end to the Indians' 18ngame winning streak. McKenzie's firstnyear Head Coach Scott Curd believes a challenge awaits his program.

"That was a big win for Coach York and his program last Friday night going down to Southern Choctaw and beating them," Curd said. "Not only did they beat them, they controlled that game. It wasn't any fluke. They've got a tremendous football team and they're going to be a big challenge for us. I think our kids are going to be excited."

McKenzie, which also was on a long road trip last week, didn't come away as fortunate. Millry shut out the Tigers 42n0. Poor offensive production has been the culprit in three of McKenzie's four losses.

"We've been really, really simplifying things and we're still making some errors," Curd said. "I don't know what the problem is. We'll go out Monday though Thursday and we'll the assignments down Friday night, I guess we'll get a little excited. We've got to find a way to fix that. We've got to continue to practice hard and practice well and eventually it will sort itself out."

Curd believes offensive stability will be the key for his team to win.

"Some how, some way, we've got to find a way to get consistent on offense, which we're not doing right now," Curd said. "We're having too many mental breakdowns. We've got to eliminate all the mistakes we're making because they're killing us."

York has a more simplistic outlook of the game.

"I think the team that commits the fewest turnovers and plays mistakenfree football has the better chance of winning," York said. "They're going to play hard regardless of their record."

Defensively, McKenzie has shown strength in many of its contests. Curd said stopping Georgiana's running backs Letonio Johnson and Jessie Henderson and fullback William Langham would be a challenge.

"We've got to hem up their running backs," Curd said. "They're playmakers. Somehow we've got to get a lot of people around the football and tackle them. Their fullback William Langham is a tremendous blocker. They've got as good a football team as we'll play this year."

Even though McKenzie's only about 10 miles from Georgiana and fans from both schools will flock to the stadium, York believes home field advantage will play a factor in the game.

"After last week's 2 1/2 hour trip, we're glad to play at home," York said. "We've got four in a row at home and we're excited about that. There's some region games in that fourngame home stretch."

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.