Football preview: Rivalry game means even more this season

Published 7:03 pm Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday’s Isabella-Thorsby game is important for both teams—for more reason than one.
The game represents one of Chilton County’s biggest rivalries, and this season it is also an important Class 2A, Region 4 contest.

“We certainly want to be pumped up because it’s a rivalry game,” first-year Isabella coach Scott Booth said. “At the same time, we want to realize it’s just another game, it counts the same as all the others. We want to take the approach of, every time we step on the field we’re excited and we want to win the game because our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs.
“We don’t want to put our whole season on this one game.”

With a win over Isabella, Thorsby’s most common opponent in its history, the Rebels (2-0) would improve to 2-0 in region play and be in good position to earn its first playoff berth since 2003.

The Mustangs (1-1, 0-1 region), meanwhile, are trying to find some consistency. They defeated Class 4A Central-Coosa, 33-22, in Week 1 but lost to region foe Billingsley, 27-12, last week.

Isabella committed numerous penalties and four turnovers in the loss.

“That comes from a physical ballgame,” Booth said. “It was hot; both teams were tired. Some of it was just a lack of focus.

“Hopefully, we won’t do that this week. You can’t win a close ballgame turning it over.”
There’s reason to believe the game will be close: Both teams want to win, and last year’s game was a 32-30 classic that went Thorsby’s way.

Booth said, for his team to have a chance, the IHS defense will have to slow down Thorsby offensive trio of senior quarterback Andrew Farris, senior running back Kalup Nunn and senior receiver Marcus Bray, who have combined to account for more than 600 yards already this season.

“We’re probably not going to stop them completely, but we’ll have to slow them down,” Booth said.

Who will win?

A win would give Thorsby its first 3-0 start to a season since 1989. The Rebels will do it because of their balanced offense. Isabella features a potent rushing attack, but THS has two runners with more than 100 yards rushing on the season and two pass catchers with more than 100 receiving yards. Pick: Thorsby Picks record: 8-3

Also Friday night

•Brookwood (1-1) at Chilton Co. (1-1)
Chilton County should be motivated to bounce back from a disappointing performance at Demopolis, and a win would make the Tigers 5-0 all-time against Brookwood.
Pick: Chilton Co.

•Jemison (1-1) at Holt (0-2)
Holt has been outscored a combined 128-7 in its two losses this season. Look for more of the same against an explosive Jemison team with playoff aspirations.
Pick: Jemison

•Holy Spirit (2-0) at No. 5 Maplesville (2-0)
Another week, another interesting matchup for Maplesville. The Red Devils will play at home for the first time this season; expect them to please the crowd.
Pick: Maplesville

•Verbena (0-2) at Notasulga (0-2)
One of these teams will break into the win column, and expect it to be the local team. The Red Devils have been close; they just need to put it all together and not make mistakes.
Pick: Verbena

•Billingsley (1-1) at Vincent (1-1)
Last week’s win over Isabella should give a young Billingsley squad some confidence. A 2-0 start in region play would give the Bears an inside track to a playoff berth.
Pick: Billingsley