Pike County rivals play tonight

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tonight at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium, it will be the Bulldogs against the Trojans.

It’ll be “Ra-Ra” against “CeCe”.

Trojan quarterback K.D. against Bulldog quarterback J.P.

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Simply put, tonight is the annual Pike County Classic between Charles Henderson and Pike County.

Both Brundidge and Troy are abuzz with excitement, something both head coaches said is a great thing.

“This game is important to both communities,” said Charles Henderson head coach Hugh Fountain. “It’s important to the kids from Brundidge and it’s important to the kids from Troy. I don’t think there’s any way to lessen the importance of the game, whether they ever count it on a record or not. With some things, records don’t matter. The people in Troy and Brundidge are keeping a record of it. It’s an important game to us in that manner. That’s the way the game should be played.”

Pike County head coach Eddie Stephenson said the excitement over the game is a great thing.

“I think it’s fun,” Stephenson said. “To have the two communities get this excited over football can only be good for the game. Our players are highly excited about the game, and I’m sure it’s likewise at Charles Henderson.”

While the game definitely means a lot to the two communities, it also means a great deal to the players, especially those who are playing in their final Pike County Classic.

“This game really means a lot,” said Pike County quarterback Josh Parker. “Coming off of last year, we’re really hungry coming into this game. We practiced from the spring to the summer to now and we’ve worked real hard to get ready for this game.”

The Trojans have been focused on the game since the summer as well.

“We’ve been thinking about this all summer,” said CHHS running back Billy Neal. “This is what we’ve worked for. We’ve got to do it.”

Both teams are using last year’s 35-20 Trojan victory as motivation. Pike County wants to avenge that loss, while Charles Henderson wants to begin w inning streak over its archrivals.

“Last year, I feel like they didn’t have a better team than us, but they beat us anyway,” said Pike County linebacker Spencer Bright. “I feel like we’ve been working real hard to get ready.”

Charles Henderson wide receiver Ladarrius Sanchious said a winning streak would give him and his teammates a lifetime of bragging rights.

“It just gives us bragging rights,” Sanchious said. “10 years from now, we could look back and say, ‘Hey, we whooped ya’ll 10 years ago.’”

Both teams say there is a little trash talk, but nothing too intense.

“We’re friends with some of them and they’ll talk mess a little bit, but there’s really nothing serious,” Parker said. “We’re all good friends about it.”

Neal, a Brundidge native, said he has heard a little bit more than most.

“I’m from Brundidge,” Neal said. “They’ve been bugging me about it. They keep calling me a traitor and all that stuff. But, we did it to them last year. There’s nothing else to do but keep beating them.”

As far as the actual game planning goes, both Fountain and Stephenson said they are watching plenty of film to help prepare.

“The thing about it is you obviously watch the Pike County tape so you know the players and how they play and who’s returning,” Fountain said.

“But, it’s the first game of the season, so they may have somebody who didn’t play last year or somebody who didn’t play much and you don’t know anything about them.”

While Stephenson may be a new in Brundidge, he and the Trojans are familiar with one another, as CHHS was eliminated in the first round of the 2008 playoffs by a Stephenson-coached Citronelle squad.

“I’m sure they’re doing the same thing we are, and we’re watching that playoff game,” Stephenson said. “That Pike County game last year was a totally different system with a different coaching staff. Our players have matured beyond that. Our kids are not very happy about the way that game went. I think they are very excited about getting to redeem themselves after last year.

“They weren’t even in the game at any point. They feel like that wasn’t indicative of who they are. They want to go into this game and prove Pike County’s a team to be compared with the good football teams in the state. They want to get to that level. It’ll be a good test.”

Fountain confirmed that the Trojans have watched the tape from their loss to Citronelle in order to help prepare for Pike County.

“You also look at the tape from Citronelle, but we played them last year in the playoffs, so we have a head start on knowing what he likes to do,” Fountain said. “Whether he changes that or stays with that, you have to have a combination of the two so you can know about the players and about what the coach likes to do.”

With all the planning and preparation at a close, both teams are now focused on the task at hand.

“It would be good for the team to go out and get the first win so we can take that into the season and try to do better.” Bright said.

“We’ve just got to get the W,” said CHHS linebacker Darius McClain We’ve got to work hard, play hard and play as a unit.”

Trojan defensive back Zac Wilson summed it up best, however.

“I’m just sitting back waiting for Friday night,” Wilson said.