Florala, Red Level to play in in-county rivalry Friday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Red Level and Florala’s football squads are “excited” to play each other Friday night for their in-county rivalry match up at Bobby Dye Field.

Both teams enter the game after coming off of losses in week two. FHS took a bitter 45-6 defeat to Georgiana in region play, while RLS lost 28-7 against Notasulga.

This week’s game will be Red Level’s first taste of Class 1A, Region 2 play. Last week’s game was Florala’s region opener.

“We’re excited,” Tigers head football coach David Godwin said. “Our kids are excited to play somebody in our county. It’s also our first region game. That puts a little added importance on it and a little added excitement and enthusiasm toward the game.”

Florala owns a 30-26 record over RLS in the series. Last year, the Tigers lost a close game 22-14.

Wildcats head football coach Brad Rhodes said he’s still learning a bit about the rivalry between the two schools, noting that it has all of the ingredients to make a good matchup.

“I know they’re a group that’s hungry for a win,” Rhodes said. “I know they’d love to get it against a rival like us.”

Rhodes said his players must play with intensity for four quarters this week, and added that the focus is entirely on the Wildcats.

“We’re just going to focus on ourselves, correcting our mistakes and playing smart football,” he said. “I really liked the intensity that we played with in the first half last week, but you’ve got to control those emotions as well. We at times had some things that were costly, both offensively and defensively.”

For the Tigers, not turning the ball over is a main priority this week, Godwin said.

“Turnovers just killed us,” Godwin said about last week’s loss. “We’ve got to eliminate the eliminatable things. So, if we eliminate turnovers, I think we’ve got a chance to play with anybody on our schedule.”

Godwin said Florala’s Avery McNeil, Austin West, Brandon Russell and Ray Hall are viable threats for the Tigers defense this week.

“They’ll sneak up on you with their speed,” Godwin said about McNeil and West. “They’ve got some quickness about hem. Brandon Russell, he’s having a very successful year. He seems to be getting better and better, and of course they’ve got the Hall kid.”

Unfortunately this week, RLS will be without quarterback Wesley Holley, who has an “MCL issue” right now, Godwin said. Instead, Dylan Jordan will fill the quarterback position as he did last week against NHS.

Additionally, RLS defensive lineman A.J. Nicholson is serving a two-game suspension for leaving the bench during last week’s contest, Godwin said.

Leading up to the game, Rhodes said he’s getting the players focused on one task — getting to a 1-1 region record.

“That’s the biggest thing,” Rhodes said. “We just need to go out there and take care of business. We’re going to go out this week and work on us, and execute what we do.”

Kick off Friday night is at 7.