Four more teams open ’08 with rivalry games

Published 2:19 pm Friday, August 29, 2008

The 2008 Billingsley squad will look very much like last year’s version but is looking for a different outcome. Maplesville will feature many new faces in starting positions but is hoping to simply sustain its success.

Isabella (0-0) at Jefferson Christian (0-0)

– Isabella will look to build off the success they enjoyed last season, when the Mustangs won five games after ending a 23-game losing streak.

Thorsby (0-0) at Verbena (0-0)

– Verbena has taken the last two decisions in this intra-county rivalry. The Red Devils won 13-0 last year.

The two rivals find themselves in different situations when they meet tonight, but they’ll both be looking for the same thing at Maplesville’s George Walker Jr. Stadium: a win.

The Red Devils have claimed four of those wins a row, including last year’s 48-0 decision.

Billingsley last won in 2003 by, curiously, a 48-0 score.

Maplesville lost several key players from last year’s team, which made the semifinals of the state playoffs. Most telling is that only two defensive starters return. Coach Brent Hubbert, though, knows he still has a talented team.

“It’s been a good week; it hasn’t been a great week,” Hubbert said about his team’s preparation. “You hope your kids get excited about playing somebody else.”

The Bears, meanwhile, return most of their key contributors from last year’s 5-6 team, including running backs Jamar Hopson and Tim Simon, who combined for more than 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns.