Looking ahead to local rivalries

Published 9:36 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The rainy weather has ceased, giving way to a punishing sun that brings scorching temperatures. It can only mean one thing: I’m ready for football season.

Yes, there’s plenty of baseball and basketball to keep me occupied while school’s out—it’s not even officially summer yet—but something about the hot part of the year makes me think pigskin. And what better way to momentarily satisfy one’s appetite for football than to think ahead to some of the best match-ups of the coming season. We’ll focus on games between local teams because, even if they aren’t region games, these are the contests that players, coaches and fans circle on their calendars.

Chilton County High at Jemison, Aug. 27. This is the area’s most recognized rivalry because it involves the two biggest schools and fan bases. The Panthers last year ended CCHS’s winning streak in the series, but the Tigers should have the more experienced team this time around. We’ll see if they can start another streak.

Maplesville at Billingsley, Aug. 28. I’ve heard a coach call this “the best rivalry I’ve ever been a part of, in every sport,” but the football rivalry has been lopsided at best. The Bears haven’t won one since 2003.

Verbena at Thorsby, Aug. 28. It will be the first game of the Billy Jackson era at Thorsby, while Verbena will be looking to prove its 7-4 record in 2006 was the norm instead of the 3-7 marks the past two years.

Verbena at Isabella, Sept. 25. This rivalry was made much more interesting by some extracurricular activities that took place before and after last year’s game. If you’re close to either program, you know what I’m talking about.

Thorsby at Isabella, Oct. 16. This could be the most underrated rivalry in local football. With Isabella having sustained heavy losses to graduation, Thorsby might have a chance to make headway in the series.