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Lizi Arbogast / The Outlook Reeltown fans and the surrounding communities are hoping to have a lot to cheer for tonight as the Rebels take on G.W. Long in the Class 2A quarterfinals.

It’s time to put county rivalries aside and support the Reeltown Rebels.

Reeltown’s football team is hosting G.W. Long in the AHSAA Class 2A quarterfinals tonight, and I really hope to see a ton of local support.

Not only is this game important for Reeltown as it is seeking its first state championship in 10 years, but it’s huge for the community in general. Any time you can get this many eyes on a small town in our county, there’s a lot of benefits that can be reaped.

It can be a good thing economically because I’m sure the fans and players from G.W. Long need something to eat and — no offense to Reeltown — they can’t do that near the stadium. But more importantly, it’s a good thing for our kids. It’s the same concept as when Eric Shaw was getting such heavy college recruitment, the more he was seen, the more other Rebels were seen. If people from out of town start to see the kind of talent we have in this area, that can only be viewed as a positive.

It’s also just a fun thing for the community. Much like when Central Coosa’s boys basketball team had its run to the state championship and Benjamin Russell fans put the rivalry aside, we should do the same for Reeltown. I know the Dadeville and Reeltown game gets heated, and it’s a fun one to witness for sure. But I encourage all Tiger fans to set that aside for the next few weeks and root for Reeltown to advance to state.

I gotta give a shoutout to Cody Glenn, who is on the Benjamin Russell basketball coaching staff. He and I were talking about the upcoming schedule and what games I could be at because the Wildcats are on the road for the next few weeks. I mentioned something about the BRHS at Dadeville game, which is scheduled for the same day as the state championship — should Reeltown make it that far. I said I would be at the game if the Rebels weren’t in it anymore, and Cody said, “Well, then I hope you aren’t there.”

That’s the kind of community support I love to see.

At this point, there’s no reason to root against Reeltown. Seeing the Rebels go down doesn’t make anyone in our area better and it doesn’t give anything to your team. All rooting for Reeltown gives the community is positivity and, if you’re a coach or parent, it teaches a good lesson to kids about sportsmanship and putting your differences aside.

On top of all that, it’s just going to be a good football game. This far into the season, there start to be fewer and fewer blowouts and many more excitements, and it’s not like there’s many other options. There are very few home games anywhere near us. Central Phenix City is hosting Auburn; Clay Central is home against Madison County; and Lanett will take on Isabella at home, but all of those are as far or farther than Reeltown for basically everyone in Tallapoosa County.

And really, what else is there to do on a Friday night in Alabama? There aren’t very many chances left to get out there and support our high school football players. Even assuming Reeltown makes it all the way — which I fully hope it does — there’s still only three more opportunities to watch the Rebels play. And I promise you, they’ll put on a good show.

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.