Andalusia, Opp clash Friday night
Andalusia versus Opp - enough said.
When the Opp Bobcats travel to Andalusia Municipal Stadium on Friday for the annual Covington County rivalry against the Andalusia Bulldogs the players on both teams will be playing for bragging rights and pride. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Both teams came up short in their bids to make the 2002 state playoffs making the annual
Battle of Highway 84 the final high school football game for the seniors on both squads.
Andalusia enters the game with an overall record of 4-5 and finished Class 4A, Region 1 play with a record of 3-4.
The Opp Bobcats are currently 4-5 overall and went 3-4 in Class 4A, Region 2 play this season.
Both teams finished fifth in their respective regions with the top four teams from each region advancing to the playoffs.
The teams have split the past two seasons with Opp winning in 2000 and Andalusia earning a win in 2001.
Opp Head Coach Jeff Rhodes said those win-loss records will play a role in motivating the players on both teams.
"Both of the teams are 4-5 going into the game," Rhodes said. "Somebody will go home with a
break even season and one will go home with a losing record.
"The seniors on these teams are 1-1 against each other and the winner will go out with a winning record in the rivalry," Rhodes added.
The game, however, is always big no matter what the teams' records are going into the contest.
"It's always a big game," Rhodes said. "Anytime you play someone close to home you want to beat them."
Andalusia Head Coach Paul Woolley is a former Opp Bobcat coach and he said this rivalry is huge.
"It's a tremendous game because it is the last game for a lot of seniors at Andalusia High School," Woolley said. "Seniors who have put in a lot of work here.
"It's still the Andalusia-Opp game and ever since I've been in south Alabama it's been one of the big games," Woolley added. "I've been on both sides of the coin, so, I know how important it is."
Rhodes said the key to the game will be executing on offense and stopping Andalusia's go-to players.
"To stop them you have to stop Richard Justice and Neal Patterson," Rhodes said. "I think they are 95 percent of their offense the last few ball games that we've seen."
Woolley said the Bulldogs have to try and limit the Bobcats' rushing attack.
"They run the option and throw the ball deep," Woolley said. "They also like to run Kelley up the middle.
"It's hard to totally stop a good option system, but you have to slow it down," Woolley said about the Opp offense.
As for the Bulldogs' offense, Woolley said fans know what to expect.
"My philosophy is still the same," Woolley said. "We still run the ball and if someone is able to slow us down we'll do something else."