BRANTLEY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s rivalry week in Crenshaw Country as the Luverne Tigers take a quick trip down the road to Brantley to take on the Bulldogs in the first official game for each team.
“Well a lot of people in this region know it’s a rivalry game, so we’re all pumped, and just ready for the Friday night lights and just do what we gotta do to win,” said Luverne senior linebacker Dayomas Magwood.
There have 87 total games between the two teams. Luverne leads the series 55-29-3 all time, and this year, first year head coach Jason Rowell hopes to notch another win in that column for the Tigers.
“Everything’s been good, the community support has been great,” said Rowell. “The most impressive part was the effort and the resiliency that our kids played with, and if we can clean some things up we have a chance to be a really good football team.”
Luverne carries a lot of momentum heading into Friday’s game. They’ve won the last five games of the series, including last year’s 47-14 win.
But that was last year. And with this being the game that will go on record for both teams, it’ll be a great way to set the tone for the season.
“They’re excited. There’s a lot of energy with these guys, they’re excited to be part of this rivalry, and we want to represent the past with pride,” said Rowell. “It’s one of those things that each community - Brantley and Luverne, they take a lot of pride in, and we’re excited to be a part of it, and with everything that’s going on, we’re just excited for the kids to have an opportunity to play football too.”
“As a team, we know what we gotta do, we just gotta stay focused, but in the back of our minds we know,” added Magwood. “We stay hyped because there’s a time and place for everything.”
Nine miles down the road, and the Bulldogs are also prepping for the big game; it’s one that’s especially important to the the class of 2021, who is hoping for their first win over their rivals.
“We’ve got a lot of returning guys who’ve been here in our program for a while, and they’ve got high expectations,” said Brantley head coach Roland Jones. “Any time you can beat Luverne, it’s good - none of these guys have ever beat them, so that’s a little motivation.”
“Oh we are very motivated. The energy is high, very high. I like the energy, and I’m ready for it. I’m ready for all of it,” added senior wide receiver Kenuwyn Dixon. “We’ve got a really good football team, and they do too, but we’ve gotta go out there and play.”
With the coronarvirus making such a big impact on the 2020 season, the Bulldogs are thankful to start the year with Luverne, because it’s given them an opportunity they don’t want to take for granted.
“It’s helped us bring out the attitude that we’ve had at the end of the season towards playoffs, because you never know when it’s gonna be that last go around,” said Brantley junior quarterback Tucker Kilcrease.
Normally, this is a game that draws thousands of fans, but thanks to COVID, that number has been significantly reduced. But, when asked if that would make an impact on the game, the teams could agree.
“Not at all, not at all, not at all. We’re still gonna do what we have to do win and execute our plans,” said Magwood.
“Nah, it’s Luverne. We gotta come ready to play, and we’re gonna be fired up with or without fans,” added Kilcrease.
Kickoff for the Crenshaw County clash is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Brantley High School.