Straughn’s Rollin Kinsaul (5) battles with Midfield’s Antoine Davis during last week’s Class 3A quarterfinals. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

ALL OR NOTHING

Published 12:02am Friday, November 30, 2012

Straughn and Fayette County will battle tonight for a shot to play in the Class 3A Super 6 Championship, a goal both teams have targeted in their sites.

Step by step and game by game for the last three weeks, SHS has inched closer and closer to that coveted blue map.

FCHS (11-2) has traveled the same road, defeating B.B. Comer 35-16 in the first round, W.S. Neal 34-6 in the second round and Leeds 24-14 last week in the quarterfinals. Straughn (9-3) beat Daleville 35-7 in the first round, Trinity Presbyterian 21-7 in the second round and Midfield 17-13 last week.

SHS head football coach Trent Taylor said while getting big wins in the playoffs can be exciting, relishing them can be short work.

“I don’t know that you can (enjoy it). As soon as that one’s over and you enjoy it with your kids a little bit, then it’s on to the next one,” Taylor said.

In fact, early Saturday morning, Taylor had to make the trek to Montgomery for a coaches meeting at the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s headquarters.

When the meeting was over, Taylor said he started talking about Fayette County with his defensive coordinator, John Fussell.

“I guess that’s what banquets and off seasons are for,” Taylor quipped. “It’s certainly fun to be here. Our kids are excited, our school is excited and heck, our community is excited.”

The team from Northwest Alabama has quarterback Marcellus Redmond and his favorite targets in wide receivers and brothers Jetevin and Jatrae Madison. Jetevin, a junior, is Fayette’s “go-to man,” FCHS head football coach Lance Tucker said. Jatrae is a senior who caught five passes for 84 yards and a touchdown last week.

Tucker said Straughn will be the hardest team his boys will face all season.

“(Straughn is) the best-coached team we’ve played all year, and they’ve played harder than any high school team I’ve seen all year long,” Tucker said. “And I’ve heard they have the best fans in the world.”

FCHS runs multiple sets on offense and a 4-3 scheme on defense, Tucker said.

The FCHS coach said travel time could be a deciding factor in how his players play tonight. FCHS will make it’s second road trip in a row for the game this post season. Straughn has alternated traveling and hosting so far.

“These boys know up front, it’s going to be a long day and a long night,” Tucker said. “How they handle the trip will determine how they play. If they travel well, then, hopefully, they’ll play well. If not…”

Tonight’s contest will be another where his defense will have to play well in order to keep the offense on the field, Taylor said. Last week, SHS’ time of possession was 34 minutes, compared to Midfield’s 14.

Tucker said there may be a few FCHS fans who will make the journey to SHS for the game tonight.

“We’re going to bring as many fans as can possibly go, but that five-hour trip, it makes it hard to get off work and come,” he said.

FCHS started concentrating early on tonight’s game, Tucker said.

“One of our goals is we don’t worry about what the other team does,” he said. “We do what we do and concentrate on ourselves. If we play good and get beat, then that team was better.

“But, this time of the year, and this game, if you play good and get beat, that’s OK,” he said. “Get up and smile about it because you did good to get this far.”

Taylor said he’s looking for his players to play like they have been every game this season.

“With each step, it gets closer and closer,” Taylor said. “Our kids are going to play probably harder than they have all year (tonight).

“That’s hard to imagine because there have been times where they have laid it out there,” he said. “They want for Straughn the same thing that so many people who are not on the team want. Obviously, there’s a great sense of pride. These kids understand they’re playing for success and for the school.”

Kick off tonight is at 7.

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