Renewal of rivalry makes sense

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

When it comes to scheduling high school football games, there have been a many that I've seen on a schedule and just scratched my head.

After seeing Greenville's non-region schedule, I must have scratched a good patch of hair away. I would get questions from other people wanting to know how teams like Daleville and Demopolis ended up on the Tigers' schedule.

I wondered that myself, but now those questions have been eliminated.

Greenville interim coach Mike Williams announced Friday that the Tigers will play Hillcrest-Evergreen, Monroe County and Georgiana in non-region action.

All three make perfect sense. All three are no more than an hour away, so there is no problem with travel.

What makes this non-region schedule more attractive is that Georgiana and Greenville renew a county rivalry that had taken 22 years off. Sure Greenville has twice the enrollment as Georgiana, but both teams can only put 11 players on the field at once.

I've seen a number of teams play outside of their classification. Sure it may be billed as David versus Goliath matchup, but it brings two communities that are separated

by 15 miles of Interstate 65 together for a great game no matter which team wins.

This is a game that needs to happen in Butler County because it seems that the frenzy that surrounds high school football is about to burn out in this county.

But this is a game that could revive that feeling and make places like Greenville and Georgiana a tougher place to play.

I'm not saying this game will turn both teams into automatic winners, but it will make the kids who play for both teams feel special when a majority of the county comes out to watch the two play.

That's what needs to happen.

So while it's great to see Georgiana and Greenville renew their rivalry is just as sad to see Georgiana's rivalry with McKenzie dissolved.

Had McKenzie continued to play Georgiana this upcoming season it would have marked the first time in more than two decades that the Panthers would have played both county schools in the same year.

Having not seen McKenzie's non-region schedule or getting an explanation from coach Timothy Moorer, it's hard to make a snap judgment. McKenzie will once again have a young team, but should show some signs of improvement.

Georgiana will also be rebuilding this season since it will have a new backfield following the graduation of its tailback and fullback.

But it's still hard to figure why you would not play a team that is just 10 miles down the road from you.

Maybe that 69-0 defeat at Georgiana left a sour taste in the mouths of some of the McKenzie faithful.

I'm sure it left a bad taste in Moorer's mouth, since it was his first game as Tigers head coach after David Kirkland resigned.

Either way, I would venture a guess that which ever team took Georgiana's place will not bring as big a crowd as would a game with the Panthers.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. Call him at (334) 382-3111 ext. 122 or e-mail kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com.