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Straughn to face off against Red Level tonight

Coming off two region losses, the Straughn Tigers (7-2, 5-2 in Class 4A, Region 1) are not taking anything for granted against the Red Level Tigers (3-6, 1-6 in Class 2A, Region 1) as both rival teams vie for a victory Thursday.

In the 2007 season, Straughn defeated Red Level, 14-12, in the season’s opening game.

Straughn head coach Trent Taylor said Red Level has talent, but they are still a “young” team.

“I think Red Level is extremely talented,” Taylor said. “Their biggest thorn in their side all year is that the talent has been young. At least in the films we’ve seen that’s what is played. They make young mistakes.

“It seems like they always have that one missed assignment that is usually because of youth that shoots them in the foot,” he said.

Red Level coach Tim Grimes said for his team to win, they need to play with a competitive spirit.

“We’ve just got to play hard,” Grimes said. “It’s a big game for Straughn and us. That’s one reason why Trent and I moved it back to week 10. Playing on a Thursday night, we ought to have a good crowd. We’re the only teams going on in the county.

“We hope that there is a good crowd and hope we can be competitive with them,” he said. “We hope we can show up and make an accounting of ourselves.”

Other than the playoffs for Straughn, Taylor said right now the focus has been on the game tonight.

“It’s still Red Level-Straughn,” Taylor said. “Anything can happen like any other rivalry whether it’s high school or collegiate. There’s a lot of emotions on both sides. Kids play at a different level.

“We certainly expect the same thing with this one,” he said. “This is Red Level’s playoff game and that’s what we’ve got to guard against and that’s not looking beyond this. We’re fortunate that we’ve got a week 11 to look forward to. Right now, the focus has got to be on week 10 and that’s Red Level.”

Grimes will be utilizing only 26 players on his team tonight as two of them are injured and added that practice has gone well this week.

“We just have 26 players now; our quarterback is hurt,” he said. “Preston Ryce won’t be at quarterback, he’s got some shoulder problems. I’m not sure whether it’s going to be Jon Jon Neal or Torey Cobb that will fill his spot.

“They practiced hard,” he said. “I don’t know if you could ask for any other kids that have tried harder than they did this year.”

Kickoff in Red Level is at 7 p.m.