Ryne Gallacher / The Outlook The trenches between Fayetteville and Horseshoe Bend.

The Generals are eager to take the field this week as they take on their toughest test of the season when they travel to Randolph County. 

Horseshoe Bend (1-3) got off to a fast start this year with a Week 0 win over rival Wadley and have been in a few dog fights since then, losing two of their three games by one possession and in heartbreaking fashion. 

Randolph County (3-0) is one of the better teams in all of Class 2A, sitting at the No. 2 spot according to the most recent Alabama Sports Writers Association poll.

Despite losing last week by a touchdown, coach Jeremy Phillips was encouraged by some of the things the Generals were able to do against Vincent, including scoring 32 points.

“I’m excited to see how we compete,” Phillips said. “I’m pleased with how we competed last week. We know we were just a few plays from winning all our games. I’ve told our guys that we have yet to put together a complete game; if we are able to do that, we know we can play with anybody.”

Randolph County has a very similar play style to Horseshoe Bend, using the wishbone and I-formation to run the ball down its opponent’s throats. 

“This is going to be an old-school matchup,” Phillips said. “Our hands are going to be full. Traditionally Randolph County is a good team. It’s going to be a physical matchup with lots of running of the football.”

Phillips was also encouraged by the chunk plays the Generals picked up last week. Explosive plays have been what Horseshoe Bend has lacked in recent weeks. Big plays from Gavin Brazzell and Holt Tidwell will be needed if the Generals want to have a shot at bringing down the second-best team in Class 2A. 

“We have a chance to be explosive more consistently,” Phillips said. “We just need to continue to stay positive and work on overcoming adversity. Once we learn how to win these close games we will be a handful.”

According to Phillips, the Generals’ mindset has completely changed from when he first arrived at the program three seasons ago and he believes they are on the right track to being the program the community envisions. 

“When I first got here we hardly competed,” Phillips said. “If we did, it would be for a half and then we’d be complacent losing — that’s not the case now. These guys expect to win every game now and that’s a real encouraging sign.”

With the way Horseshoe Bend and Randolph County run the ball, time will be the essence and possessions will be limited. The Generals will need to make the most of whatever the situation is when they get the ball on offense and score points by whatever means necessary. The Generals believe they can come out and pull off the upset; now it is up to execution. 

Ryne Gallacher is a sports writer for The Outlook.