Feed the feud: CCHS, Jemison ready for latest edition of rivalry

Published 5:29 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2015

By Ryan Poe and Stephen Dawkins

Rivalry week.

The words themselves can send chills down the spine and add a little electricity to the air.

Chilton County High School versus Jemison is among the most intense varsity football rivalries in the state, and this year’s edition of the game promises to be no different.

The Tigers (1-0) and Panthers (0-1) square off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Panther Stadium in Jemison.

Who will win the Chilton Co.-Jemison game?

  • Chilton Co. (63%, 242 Votes)
  • Jemison (37%, 142 Votes)

Total Voters: 384

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First-year Jemison coach Van Clements said he expects 3,000 to 4,000 fans to attend the game.

That number, with a $6 price of admission, will produce revenue of about $20,000 for the JHS football program.

On a good night when the opponent isn’t CCHS, Clements said half of that amount would be considered a good “gate,” or money earned through ticket sales.

“It’s definitely our biggest gate of the year,” Clements said.

The funds are so valuable because of the expenses related to varsity football, including referees, power bills, equipment and travel.

Though he’s in his first year as coach, Clements is no stranger to the rivalry.

He played quarterback for the Panthers, graduating in 2005, and was an assistant coach for several years.

“It’s not real hard to get excited about this game,” Clements said about the mood in practice this week. “The rivalry itself gets you excited.”

The preparation began Monday for the faculty and staff at CCHS.

In traditional high school mode, students at CCHS had a variety of dress-up days leading up to the big game.

Monday, the students dressed in pink to give their opinion of the Panthers. Tuesday was camouflage day. Wednesday saw the students “celebrate” Jemison by dressing in “school uniforms” and Thursday students were to wear orange and blue in a show of school spirit.

“It’s great for our kids,” CCHS offensive coordinator Robert Bradford said. “It really shows that the student body supports what we are trying to build, and I know it means something to our players.”

Junior offensive tackle Damian Wilson echoed Bradford’s thoughts.

“Everybody participating is really great,” Wilson said. “It helps us get motivated–not only to play but to go out and practice everyday this week. Knowing what it means to the school, it gets me pumped up.”

An extended pep rally is scheduled at the school for 2:15 p.m. Thursday.

Chilton County won last year’s game, 33-0, the first shutout in the series since Jemison won 35-0 in 2000. The Tigers hold an overall 41-20 edge in the series, according to the best available records.

CCHS-Jemison isn’t the only local rivalry game scheduled for this week, Billingsley hosts Maplesville and Thorsby hosts Verbena on Friday.

Isabella is the other local team in action. The Mustangs visit Hale County on Friday.

All games begin at 7 p.m.