Rebels open playoffs on road versus BisonPublished 6:28pm Tuesday, November 5, 2013
By Willie G. Moseley
Special to the Outlook
It will be quite a journey for the Reeltown Rebels in the first round of the state 2A playoffs this coming Friday. Located in extreme south Tallapoosa County, Reeltown’s team must travel some 200 miles to Higdon, a community located in extreme northeast Alabama, near the tri-state juncture of Tennessee, Georgia, and their home state.
Their opponents will be the North Sand Mountain Bison, who finished second in Region 7 with a 5-2 region record, and 8-2 overall.
“It’s about 25 or 30 miles from the Tennessee line, and about 25 or 30 miles from the Georgia line,” O’Neal said of his team’s destination.
The RHS skipper has now seen game films of his opponent, and noted, “They’re not a flashy ball club – they’re kind of old school. They believe in the running game, and they’re going to be physical. They’ve got adequate team speed, and are about the same size as us. What we’re going to have to do is control the tempo of the game, including trying to get some points on the board early.”
While O’Neal noted the similarity in size between the two teams, he cited NSMHS receiver Austin Cummins – who leads the Bison with eight touchdown catches – as a potential matchup nightmare.
“He’s about six-seven or six-eight, so we’ve got to watch him,” he said. “They run the spread on offense, which is something we’ve seen since week one.”
Cody McBryar directs the Bison on offense, and the dual-threat quarterback has accounted for nearly 2,000 total yards (1,114 passing) and 21 touchdowns. McBryar also leads the defense with six picks, three of which he nabbed in North Sand Mountain’s win over Pisgah this past Friday.
Reeltown defeated Notasulga 39-12 in the final regular season game last Friday.
“We ran the ball well, and threw it well when we needed to,” O’Neal said. “We got a chance to play everybody, and gave up those 12 points late.”
O’Neal said he does not know anything about his opposing head coach, Brad Gilbert, or his staff (“To my knowledge, we’ve never crossed paths”), but the RHS head coach and his team are looking forward to the trip
“It’s an exciting time of the year,” O’Neal summarized. “We’ve never played a game past Gadsden. We’re going into an area where we’ve never gone.”
The RHS team will depart from the school at noon on Friday, and will have their pre-game meal at Elmer’s Restaurant before hitting the highway. The team will be traveling on charter buses, which will be equipped with video screens. O’Neal said his team will watch game films or perhaps a motivational sports movie en route.
“It might be Remember the Titans,” he said with a grin.