Playing for respect

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Florala face Fruitdale in its season closer Friday night at Mathews Stadium. The Wildcats are looking for a ‘playoff’ atmosphere this week. | File photo

Florala will be playing for a whole bunch of “respect” this week as the Wildcats host playoff-bound Fruitdale for their season-closer at Mathews Stadium, also known as the “Hole.”

Wildcats head football coach Justin Jones said this game holds a lot of weight.

“There is no doubt we have a lot to play for,” he said. “Respect is still at the top of the list. We would like for our supporters and town to turn out for this last home game.

“We want a playoff atmosphere because that’s what Friday night’s game will feel like,” he said.

Although Florala didn’t make the playoff this season, it did have its best year since 2007. The Wildcats are 5-4 and have the ability to finish above .500 against a 4-5 Fruitdale Pirates team.

The only common opponent between both teams is J.U. Blacksher.

Florala beat JUBHS 56-15 in week five during a non-region game. Fruitdale squeaked by with a 27-20 win over JUBHS on Oct. 12.

This season, Florala has outscored its opponents 287-250, while Fruitdale is 196-319.

“Fruitdale is a very quality opponent,” Jones said. “They have many weapons that we must do a good job of stopping to be successful on Friday.”

The message to the players this week in the lead up to the game will be the same as it always has been, Jones said.

“We stress the same fundaments every week,” he said. “It’s always about Florala being at its best.

“However, there is a little more excitement in the air because of the opponent being a playoff team.”

Jones said the players are eager to earn a little “respect” on Friday.

“We still want to keep that chip on our shoulder to help us keep that edge mentally,” he said.

When asked what one thing the team will take with it after the season is over, Jones said reflection time will take place once the clock hits zero.

“The season is not over yet, and we have unfinished business that we need to take care of Friday night,” he said. “Then we can reflect back.”

Kick off on Friday night is at 7.