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Florala hopes for 1st region win Friday

Florala football coach Stan Gooden said his players’ “attitudes and spirits are high” as they prepare to play their first Class 1A, Region 2 game this Friday night against McKenzie.

“We’ll play four quarters and we’ll try to give them a game,” Gooden said. “They got us pretty good last year (in a 54-7 loss). Our guys want a good showing with the game Friday. Right now, we’re looking at McKenzie and we met as a staff this past weekend and decided to work on fundamentals and that’s what we’ve done this week.”

Gooden said he knows McKenzie is “fast” and “physical.”

“They don’t do a lot, but they are very good at what they do,” he said. “They’re well coached. Their leader on the team is Emanuel Johnson and he can line up all over the field.

“Their quarterback didn’t pay last week and rumor is that he is ready to be back this week,” he said. “They whooped Excel last week and it’s going to take a super miraculous effort on our part to contain them. They’d be hard to tackle in a phone booth.”

Last week, Florala saw a victory of its own, defeating J.F. Shields, 26-0. Even with that first victory, Gooden knows that a win this week will be harder to get.

“If we have more points than we had against J.F. Shields on Friday night, then maybe we can win the ball game,” Gooden said. “It’s going to be fun to be at home and play (McKenzie). The pace is going to be quicker this week. They’re on a different level as far as having skill guys.”

Gooden added that getting a win over McKenzie would be big for his team’s playoff chances this season.

“It will be a big step in making the playoffs to be able to go out and win that first one,” he said. “There is going to be teams competing at the top of the region Friday night.

“We’d like to be fortunate to be one of those teams at the top. I think we’re going to see four quarters of effort from us at Florala.”

In order to be successful, Gooden said containing Johnson is one of two main keys of the game.

“Special teams is a big concern because of their speed,” Gooden said. “We’ve got to win the kicking game, control the football and not make any mistakes. If we do any of those things, we’re going to have a chance to win the ball game.”

Kick off in Florala is at 7 p.m.