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Florala hosts Collinsville tonight, hopes for a win

Florala coach Stan Gooden said both the Wildcats and their opponent are treating tonight’s regular season finale as a “playoff game.”

Florala will close out its season by playing Collinsville, a team from northeast Alabama that failed to qualify for the playoffs despite finishing with a 4-3 record in its region.

“Rocky Bayou (Fla.) was scheduled to be our final game but they had to cancel,” Gooden said. “(Collinsville) called and needed a week 10 game to fill out their schedule, and they said they were willing to travel down to Florala to play it. We wanted to fill out our schedule as well, so we agreed to play.”

Gooden said Collinsville’s team would travel down early and have a pre-game meal with the Wildcats. He hopes the experience will be a fun way for the two teams to finish their seasons.

“I think it’s going to be fun for both teams,” he said. “They didn’t make the playoffs, and we didn’t either, so we’re going to just enjoy this last game. I guess you can say it’s like a playoff game for both of us. Usually schools located that far away don’t play each other during the regular season.”

Collinsville (5-4) is located approximately 283 miles from Florala, which is about a five-hour bus ride. Gooden said the team would travel back home immediately following tonight’s game. He added that the matchup is only for this year; Florala (1-8) will not make a return trip to Collinsville in 2010.

Gooden said his team has gone through some tough growing pains this year, but the Wildcats have also improved in many areas and would love to end their season with a victory.

“Our kids are still battling, and trying to improve,” he said. “It’s our seniors’ last opportunity to play football here in Florala. We’re going to go out and be the best we can be against a quality football team and try to finish with some positive momentum.”

Kickoff in Florala is at 7 p.m.