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Rivals ready despite short week

As if Brad Abbott and Brian Carter didn’t have enough to worry about, along came Fay.

The coaches of the Jemison Panthers and the Chilton County High Tigers, respectively, were already facing the challenge of preparing their teams for their first contests of the season, against their biggest rival, and by Thursday instead of Friday.

Then, Tropical Storm Fay dumped more than five inches of rain on the county. School – and, by extension, football practices – in Chilton County was canceled Monday, and Jemison was forced to practice inside Alton Cobb Gymnasium on Tuesday because of the amount of water on the field.

“It’s been a lot of mental stuff, mainly execution and alignments,” Abbott said. That’s not much different than what the Panthers would normally do on a game week, but could simply missing one practice or practicing in a different location cause a problem? “I don’t think it will affect the players,” he said.

Carter’s approach to a short game week was to have his team practice on Sunday, after a church service and lunch. The Tigers had an extensive practice on Tuesday, Carter said.

“We feel like we’ve had a pretty good week of practice,” he said.

Carter, the first-year CCHS coach, will experience the rivalry from a new perspective tonight. He was a Jemison assistant from 2003-05.

Both teams enter tonight’s game with a different quarterback than started the game last year, running backs that should be productive, untested offensive lines and defenses that should be stout.

“When you’re talking about the first game of the year, what better way to start than to play your rivals?” Carter said.

Also tonight

Holtville (0-0) at Marbury (0-0)

– The Bulldogs will begin their quest to follow up last year’s 10-2 season with another successful campaign. Marbury defeated Holtville 33-14 last year.