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Rebels begin defense of area crown vs. Generals

Published 1:52pm Thursday, September 5, 2013

After forays outside of their weight class last week, the Reeltown Rebels and Horseshoe Bend Generals will kick off their region slates when the Generals travel to Nix-Webster-O’Neal Stadium this Friday night.
The Generals (1-0) are fresh off a 24-20 victory over 1A rival Wadley, while the Class 2A, No. 7 Rebels (0-1) will try to put their first win on the board after being shutout 28-0 by 4A rival Dadeville.
Generals football coach Jason Franklin said his team can expect a smashmouth game all night.
“It’s Reeltown, so we know it’s going to be a tough, physical football game,” Franklin said. “You don’t have the success that they’ve had without being well-coached and always prepared to play. Every week the opponent is different, but the basic principles are the same. We have to play hard, play with effort, overcome adversity when we encounter it.”
While Dadeville slowed the Rebels’ rushing attack to a halt last week, the Generals’ ground game ran wild thanks to Drew Hill.
The freshman chewed up more than 150 yards versus Wadley and enters the week as the leading rusher among area teams. Franklin credited the offensive line, which is starting to get back to full strength, for the team’s offensive outing.
“Hat’s off to them,” Franklin said. “It was a good team effort. Drew and Antwaan (Hardnett) made plays when they had the chance. We tell the kids that it could be either one of them at anytime, and when the opportunity arises, we have to make plays.”
In last season’s meeting, Reeltown squeaked out a 31-28 overtime victory over Horseshoe Bend.
The Rebels’ backfield is always dangerous, with Ariko Stewart and Cody Martin leading the way.
Reeltown football coach Jackie O’Neal said the team needs to return to its bread and butter.
“We had no continuity on offense, and I felt that we were tipping our hands a bit,” O’Neal said. “We got manhandled, and we got away from what we like to do. We have to play like we’re capable of playing.”
O’Neal said the challenge of playing the Generals would be two-fold.
“Firstly, they know what it’s like to win a ballgame because they’re 1-0, so they’ve got momentum coming in.” O’Neal said. “Secondly, they lost a lot of their guys from last season, so we don’t know what this team is capable of. I know they have some athletes, though. We have to let the game come to us. It’s important that we start region play off on the right foot, because these games have bearings on where you play in the playoffs.”
Horseshoe Bend and Reeltown will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.

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