Daily illustration by Laura Taylor|
Even when they haven't been in the same region, Athens and Decatur were common foes.
on the line
Athens looks for first win over
Decatur at Ogle since 1998
By Brooke Milam
email@example.com ∑ 340-2460
When Decatur High moved from Class 6A to 5A last season, it joined one of the strongest football regions in the state.
It also kept in familiar company with teams such as Athens, a familiar opponent for years.
The stakes are raised now, which has only fueled the fire of one of the state's most historic matchups. The teams will write another chapter when Decatur (2-1) hosts Athens (2-1) at Ogle Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m.
"It's a huge rivalry," Athens coach Allen Creasy said.
"Decatur and Athens have been playing since 1937 and I don't think they've missed a year since. It's one OF the oldest, if not the oldest rivalry in North Alabama."
The two teams used to play the opening game of the season during 1984-2005, with Decatur winning 15 of 22 during that span.
Also in the storied rivalry of neighboring communities, it's been nearly a decade since Athens beat Decatur at Ogle Stadium.
The last time the Golden Eagles beat Decatur at Ogle was 1998, a 28-21 victory for Athens with future NFL quarterback Philip Rivers directing the offense.
Creasy said Athens hasn't talked about the win drought at Ogle Stadium, but the Red Raiders said they would like to keep the streak alive.
"I think it's special to our players," Decatur coach Jere Adcock said. "I think it's that way with every team on their home field. You want to play well there."
Decatur has the unique opportunity of facing the defending 5A state champions a week after knocking off then-No. 1 J.O. Johnson.
Decatur received votes in the Alabama Sports Writers Association polls this week after the win over J.O. Johnson, but after missing the postseason last year, the Red Raiders still have not cracked the poll.
"I haven't seen us sitting back on what we did last week," Adcock said. "I haven't seen an attitude of arrogance or 'hey look at us.'
"They understand it's a long season and they've got their minds on this ballgame."
Decatur, Athens and 5A No. 2 Russellville are on top of the Region 8 standings. All three have 2-0 region records.
While two region unbeatens will face off at Ogle Stadium on Friday night, Russellville will host J.O. Johnson.
"I think this definitely is going to kind of define the rest of the season as far as the region goes," Creasy said.
Ogle Stadium game
Who: Athens (2-1) at Decatur (2-1).
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Stakes: Both teams are 2-0 in the highly competitive Class 5A, Region 8 race. Itís a chance for Decatur to knock off the defending 5A state champions a week after unseating then-No. 1 J.O. Johnson. For Athens, itís a chance to beat Decatur at Ogle Stadium for the first time since 1998.
Fridayís other games
Class 6A: Austin (1-2) at Sparkman (2-1).
Class 5A: Brewer (1-2) at West Point (1-2), Hartselle (0-3) at Muscle Shoals (2-1).
Class 4A: East Lawrence (1-2) at East Limestone (3-0), Columbia (1-2) at Ardmore (1-2), Lawrence County (1-2) at Haleyville (1-2), North Jackson (3-0) at Priceville (1-2).
Class 3A: Danville (0-3) at Vinemont (2-1), Colbert County (2-1) at Clements (1-2), West Limestone (1-2) at Elkmont (2-1).
Class 2A: Cherokee (1-2) at Addison (2-1), Falkville (2-1) at Cold Springs (0-3), Tanner (2-1) at Phil Campbell (0-3), West Morgan (1-2) at Red Bay (3-0), Winston County (1-2) at Hatton (0-3).
Class 1A: Hazlewood (3-0) at Brilliant (3-0), Speake (2-1) at R.A. Hubbard (2-1), Waterloo (3-0) at Mount Hope (0-3).
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