Pleasant Home, Florala to battle for region, rival win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pleasant Home and Florala will engage in a region and rivalry battle Friday night at Mathews Stadium in Florala.

This is an important game for both teams as the Wildcats lost 49-8 to Brantley last week to fall 0-2 in the region, while the Eagles fell 41-12 to Kinston to fall to 1-1. A win for both in Class 1A, Area 2 play would give each a leg up heading into the second half of the season.

“Obviously, it’s a big game for us and them as well,” PHS head football coach Cody McCain said. “It’s a county game, but more importantly than that, it’s a region rivalry.

“It’s really important for us to get our second region win before our bye week,” he said.

FHS head football coach Bubba Nall said getting a win would be sweet because PHS has had his team’s “number” for some time. In fact, Pleasant Home owns a 9-4 advantage over FHS in the series, and has won the last five regular-season meetings.

“I hope it will be a good ball game this year,” Nall said. “I hope the Wildcat nation will show up. I hope Pleasant Home folks come here, too. It’s going to be an electric atmosophere. It’s going to be a good old-fashioned south Alabama high school football game.”

The first thing that pops into Nall’s mind when he thinks about PHS, is its size.

“Pleasant Home is a big, physical, well-coached and very good at what they do,” the Florala coach said. “It just blows my mind how big they are — how physical they are. I coached at the 6A level and these kids, they look like a 6A team when they walk onto the field.”

Behind the Eagles’ big offensive line is PHS quarterbacks Jon Cole Chesser and Garrett Barton.

Which one they’ll use is anyone’s guess, Nall said.

“(Chesser) at quarterback looks like Tim Tebow,” he said. “It seems like he’s got good vision. When you’ve got No. 12 (Barton) in the game — he’s a good thrower. We’re trying to prepare for both of them.”

Last week, the Eagles led 12-0 at halftime and were then outscored 41-0 in the second half by KHS.

McCain said he felt like the team was playing well at the break and were on the brink of going ahead by two scores to start the second half.

However, a penalty occurred and from there the Eagles had to punt, which led to a Kinston touchdown to start the eventual rout.

“We preach to our kids to play a smart game — physically and mentally — we’ve been preaching that for years,” he said. “We seem to make a lot of the same mistakes.

“However, some of the kids were apologizing after the game,” he said. “I think that was the first time they realized how much penalties can hurt them. We had all of the momentum in the game, and it went a 180. For us this week, it’s really putting four quality quarters together — being mentally sound and smart in the game.”

Florala’s offense is going to force the Eagles to play fundamental football on defense, McCain said.

Florala’s Tamarus Jamison, who applied a lot of pressure in the back field against Brantley last week, is a player the Eagles will have to keep an eye on.

A win this week would be nice for Pleasant Home, McCain said.

“It would put us in potential to make some noise later in the season,” McCain said. “We’ve got a couple hard region games in Geneva County and Brantley coming up. To be 2-1 at the break still gives you some hope to make a playoff push later in the year.

“We need a win for our team and kids so they can get some momentum going into the break,” he said.

Kick off in Florala is at 7 p.m.