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Both McKenzie and Georgiana coaching staffs have rival connections

Separated by only eight miles, the Georgiana-McKenzie rivalry is a strong one, and over the last several meetings, the series has been rather one-sided.

Since 1988, Georgiana is 13-5 against McKenzie, including a streak of nine in a row from 1992 to 2000.

The last time McKenzie beat Georgiana: 2002.

McKenzie’s head coach for that win: Current Georgiana head coach Shane Smothers.

“I spent two great years there, and they’re still good to me and my family,” Smothers said. “I’ve got some good friends in McKenzie, and I owe [McKenzie principal] Randy Williams for giving me my first head coaching job.”

McKenzie made the playoffs under Smothers, and the Tigers are headed back to the postseason this year for the first time since his tenure.

“I’m a McKenzie fan for nine games a year,” he said. “I’d like to beat them, then pull for them in the playoffs.”

However, there is some familiarity from the McKenzie coaching staff as well.

Assistant coaches Ezell Powell and Mike Bass are both graduates of Georgiana High School, and both played for the Panthers.

In fact, both Powell and Bass still live in Georgiana.

“I played back in the early ‘70s,” said Bass, who graduated in 1973. “I love Georgiana, but now I believe in the blue and gold. I’m on the other side of Harmon Field this week.”

Powell, a 1996 graduate of GHS, was an All-State player for the Panthers.

“For me, it’s exciting being back,” he said. “It’s going to be a little awkward being on the other sideline, but I’m coming to win.”