Georgiana and McKenzie face off Thursday night

Published 4:54 pm Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This year marks the renewing of a rivalry when Georgiana and McKenzie square of Thursday night.

It will be the first time the two schools have met since 2005.

“Our kids are excited,” said Georgiana head coach Shane Smothers. “I’m sure it’s been on both teams’ minds all year.”

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McKenzie head coach Miles Brown echoed the same sentiments.

“It’s going to be a good old rivalry game,” he said. “We’re excited.”

The two teams come in having had very different seasons.

McKenzie is 8-1 with a home playoff game coming up next week.

Georgiana is 4-5, and this game will be the last one of the year.

“Their offense is one of the fastest we’ve seen all year,” Smothers said. “Emmanuel [Johnson] is their top receiver, but he’s not the only guy. They’ve also got Melvin Owens. Calvin [Henderson] does a good job of getting the ball to them.”

“They’re a big-play team with big-time players,” he added. “We’ve got to play solid defense and not give up that big play.”

Brown said he expects Georgiana to come out and put up a fight.

“Coach Smothers is going to have his team ready to play,” he said. “You can just throw the books out. It’s going to be a game where the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins. We’re going to try to use the same mentality we’ve been using all season. We’ve still got to be fundamentally sound.”

Smothers said playing in Georgiana will be good for the Panthers.

“This gives our fans to come support us once more before the offseason,” he said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us. To win, we’re going to have to play the hardest we have all year.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday night in Georgiana.