ZC, Elba meet in Battle for Hwy 87

Published 10:26 pm Thursday, October 6, 2011

One would think that 12 miles in rural Alabama wouldn’t change things too drastically.

In Coffee County though, it does.

Elba (6-0) hosts the Zion Chapel Rebels (5-1) Friday night at Mack Wood Field at Tiger Stadium.

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Elba has 15 region titles to Zion Chapel’s two.

The Tigers’ all time winning percentage is 60.5 compared to the Rebels’ 34.7

The teams have played three previous times with Elba holding a 3-0 advantage on their neighbors to the north and outscoring the Rebs 112-22 in those games.

For the first time ever, the game actually means something other than bragging rights.

Both teams come in to Friday night’s affair with region title aspirations, each controlling their own destiny. If either team wins out, they will be the 2A Region 2 champion.

The cross-county rivalry only dates back three years on the AHSAA sanctioned football field but decades longer in other areas.

“We have played the same guys every year,” said Zion Chapel senior Clint Wise. “We have played them in baseball, football, and basketball since I was little in the rec leagues and we want to beat them.”

The familiarity with the programs continues with the coaching staffs of the teams.

Elba defensive coordinator Mickey Jacobs was a Zion Chapel assistant a few years back.

Mike Waters, head coach of Zion Chapel, roamed the Elba sidelines as head coach from 2001-2003.

“My time down there was good, but it was a long time ago,” said Waters.

Rebel defensive coordinator Bradley Bowers recalled his days dressed in black and gold while quarterbacking Elba during the late 90’s.

“I asked God before my last game against Trinity that for that night not be the last time I was on that field” said Bowers with a grin. “He made my prayer come true.”

Game time in Elba is set for 7 p.m.