Tigers and Rebels set to clashPublished 4:22pm Thursday, August 28, 2014
Over the course of the Reeltown/Dadeville rivalry, neither side has lost more than six straight games to the other.
The Tigers are looking to change that, while the Rebels are looking to keep it that way as the bitter rivals clash tonight at Tiger Stadium.
However, as far as the Tigers are concerned, history is the only thing they’re trying to change.
And after a resounding 28-0 victory over the Rebels last year, Dadeville plans to continue the winning formula with hopes of similar results.
“We’re going to do what we’ve been doing offensively or defensively,” DHS coach Richard White said. “We just have to go out there and execute. Reeltown is a much-improved team from last year … we expect their kids to be extra motivated for this one. We just have to get the butterflies out, settle down and play some football.”
For the Rebels, who are fresh off a 21-13 win over 4A opponent Childersburg, taking on the challenge of beating the No. 3 team in Class 4A – in its own backyard, no less – is one that won’t be easy.
Reeltown coach Jackie O’Neal said the team’s mindset won’t deviate from the “one game at a time” mantra set to guide the Rebels in 2014.
“We’re approaching it as it’s just the next game,” O’Neal said. “We don’t want to get too caught up in things. We’re aware that we’ve lost the last six ballgames against them, and they had the better team in those instances. But this is a whole new year, and we’re preparing for the challenge. We know we’ll have our hands full.”
With a familiar opponent, White said, the key to victory – as well as shutting down the Rebels’ two-headed monster of Ariko Stewart and Cody Martin at running back – would come down to staying alert in the throes of the trenches.
“We have to play sound defensively, remain responsible for our gaps and make the tackles,” White said. “Their backs have great lower body strength and they can break some tackles. So we have to be sure to wrap them up.”
While both sides came away with victories in game one – although Dadeville’s win versus Piedmont doesn’t count for the Tigers’ record – neither side played its best, as both the Rebels and Tigers had things to clean up coming away from each game.
“We hope we’ve had enough time to clean things up, as that would take up a lot of practice time, but we’ve had a good week of practice,” O’Neal said. “We’re hoping we got those first-game mistakes out of the way. Dadeville’s going on a short-week, and we’ve had a short week as well. Hopefully both sides have cleaned things up so we can have a good ballgame.”
White concurred, citing that increased focus on mental sharpness and communication in the secondary was a big focus for the Tigers heading into tonight’s contest, which kicks off at 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium at Dadeville High School.
O’Neal said he expected the game would come down to a game of punches and counter-punches.
“It’s going to be a chess match,” he said. “That’s what football is about. A team goes into it with a gameplan, and the opponent has a counter. In all, it’ll come down to execution.”