RLS Tigers battle Luverne for shot at Birmingham

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 28, 2003

The Red Level Tigers face the Luverne Tigers in the semifinals of the 2003 Alabama High School Athletic Association's Class 2A Championships Friday night, and according to RLS Head Coach Tim Grimes, he's looking for a good game.

"They're (Luverne) a real good team," Grimes said. "They're a balanced team, so it should be a good game."

Known throughout the state as a "fast team," Luverne comes into Friday night's match-up with a 10-3 record, while Red Level enters the game with an 11-2 record.

Coached by former University of Alabama Head Coach Mike Dubose, the Luverne Tigers have a lot of experience on their side of the field that's helped bring them this far.

"Both Coach Dubose and Coach Jacobs (offensive coordinator) have a lot of experience," Grimes said. "Both have coached in the college ranks."

But, it's not just the coaching that's gotten Luverne this far. With a tackle that's in line for Alabama's Mr. Football, Grimes said Luverne will present his Tigers with perhaps the strongest line they've seen all year.

"They're a total football team," he said. "They can run and pass. They've got one kid, James Norman, on their squad that's 6 feet 6 inches, and weighs around 320 pounds. He will probably be the best lineman we've seen all year."

But, Grimes has faith in his team.

"We're going against giants," he said. "Luverne is a football crazy town, and the team is pretty good. But, I believe in our kids, and our kids believe in each other.

"Our players have done everything we've asked of them, and I couldn't be happier with their performance this season," he continued. "We've been on the other side of the ball with two losses this season, but our players still gave the effort, and that's important. The guys have a lot of heart, and when you mix that with some pretty good football players, you've got a good football team and the chance to win every week."

One of the things that's helping to propel the Red Level Tigers each week has been the fans; and as the season progressed, the Tigers picked up more fans from all across Covington County.

"This town has really supported our team," Grimes said when referring to the Town of Red Level. "They love these kids and are proud of them.

"I was told this is the furthest any team in the county system has ever progressed in the playoffs, and that everyone across the county is really pulling for them," he continued. "We're receiving support from Andalusia, Opp, and other parts of the county. We're really thankful for that support, and the kids know the people are supporting them."

The Tigers will see more support before Friday's big game when a special Tiger Walk Pep Rally will be held in front of the school at 2 p.m. The pep rally is open to all Tiger supporters, and will be held in the school's gym in case of rain.