Eagles, Wildcats square off
Rivalries are usually played during the last week of the season. This Friday night, however, a game between
Class 1A, Region 2 teams from Covington County is an exception to that unwritten rule when the Pleasant Home Eagles host the Florala Wildcats at 7 p.m.
Both teams are coming off losses. Pleasant Home fell to Class 2A Red Level and Florala lost at the hands of New Brockton.
The difference is that the Wildcats are in the midst of a winless 0-5 season.
Florala Head Coach Doug Vickery said the Wildcats' win-loss record might not show it, but his team has improved as the season has progressed.
"Well, it's just another game on our schedule," Vickery said trying to downplay the rivalry. "We're approaching each game as just focusing on getting better on one aspect of the game."
Vickery said the Eagles are where the Wildcats want to be and he sees his team getting to that level in the near future.
"Pleasant Home poses a monumental task," he said. "They are big and physical. It seems like everybody we play is.
"Coach (Anthony) Clark is a nice guy and he does a great job with them in football and basketball," Vickery added. "They just have a good group of kids that they are winning with."
Clark's "group of kids" resemble the kids Vickery has, and what they could be in the next year or two.
"I see that we have a good group of kids," he said. "We have 15 ninth-graders and eight or nine sophomores. They are all winners. The future is bright. We just have to persevere. We just have to try to take our knocks now and take something and learn each week."
Pleasant Home Head Coach Anthony Clark said Florala has struggled and hopefully the Eagles will be able to earn a win on Friday.
"I hope we are going to be able to take care of Florala," Clark said. "Our kids, I think, did a good job Friday night. I think we are pretty close to being a good ball club.
"We've played the toughest part of our season in the first half of the year," he added. "So, I hope that makes us better."
Clark said the players from the two teams know each other and will be playing for bragging rights. He also said it is not a "bitter rivalry."
"Our schools are similar and we both are about the same size," Clark said. "It's a healthy rivalry.
"Coach Vickery is in his first year and I think he's doing a lot of good things and building a program."
The key for the Eagles will be staying focused the entire game to prevent any game-changing switches in momentum.
"I know they like to throw the ball," Clark said. "I'm looking for us not to give up the big play."