And the Battle begins
Two schools, one goal: the Butler County Championship.
Although there is no way of determining a true Butler County Champion when it comes to football, with the four county schools each in a different division or classification, this Thursday's “Battle of Butler County” between the Class 5A Greenville Tigers and the Class 2A Georgiana Panthers at Tiger Stadium at 7 p.m., is as close as it comes.
The winner of Thursday night's game will be presented the “Battle of Butler County” trophy, which is sponsored by The Greenville Advocate.
This year's match up is the first time the two schools have squared off in football in a regular season game in more than 20 years and although the two teams played in a jamboree scrimmage last season, with Greenville emerging victorious, this year's teams will have quite a different look with new head coaches Bryant Vincent of Greenville and Donald Ray Mixon of Georgiana in charge.
“I'm excited to see what happens,” Mixon said.
Mixon, who was an assistant at Georgiana before being promoted to head coach, said he knows his team must be ready in order to compete with Greenville's size and numbers.
“We're going to play hard and be competitive,” Mixon said. “We just have to put a whole game together and play a whole game.”
Vincent said the Panthers also present a challenge for his Tigers, but whoever the opponent is, he said his team is just ready to play.
“We're trying to get ready and we're just ready to play somebody in a real game,” Vincent said.
In order for the Tigers to win, Vincent said his defense is going to have step up and the offense must find its rhythm.
“We have to get our offense on the field,” Vincent said. “We have to settle down and execute and show patience to get into a rhythm.”
Mixon said Greenville's defense poses a problem for his team and the Panthers experienced offensive line must protect quarterback Andre Paige.
“We have to slow down they're speed on defense,” Mixon said. “They have a ton of speed on defense and they swarm the ball with all 11 men.”
On defense, Mixon said the Panthers' plan is simple.
“We have to stop that Lynn Lewis,” Mixon said. “We have to keep him under control because he is the definition of a game breaker.”
Vincent, too, said his defense must key in on certain individuals.
“They have a lot of talented athletes,” Vincent said. “They're quarterback is a great athlete and (Cornelius McMeans) is shifty, fast and tough.”
In the end, Vincent said he hopes Greenville's numbers will be a key to victory.
“I hope our conditioning and numbers will wear them down,” Vincent said. “No matter what, I am just so proud of how hard these kids have worked and how they (came together).”