An age-old rivalry resumes Friday in Region 5, when No. 8 Lovett (4-3, 3-1) plays host to No. 9 Westminster (3-4, 3-1) for the 30th time in a series that dates to 1974. The schools are located a mile-or-so apart.
“It is always fun to play against them,” Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said. "It is a great rivalry game. Coach Romberg and his staff do a great job, and it is a great challenge for us and a great opportunity as well.”
If there is a definition of a “friendly-rivalry,” this is it.
“It is the same-old-same-old every year,” Westminster coach Gerry Romberg said. “We look forward to it every year. I love coaching against Mike and his staff over there. They are outstanding coaches. I just become a better coach every year trying to figure out how to stop his offense. Mike and I are good friends, so it makes it that much more exciting to go against his team and see what happens.”
Westminster holds a 19-10 margin in the series and has won the last three games. Although this matchup could go a long way toward determining the region's No. 2 seed, Muschamp stresses to his team that it is just another game.
"We tell our kids from week-to-week that the game we are playing that week is the most important game," he said. "Right now, Westminster is the most important game on our schedule because it is the next game. We don’t really talk about playoffs or seedings or anything, we just focus on becoming the best football team that we can become. We hope to make a progression from week to week to week, and if we do get to the playoffs we have a chance to make a run.”
Romberg said his program takes the same approach.
“Like I try to say to everybody, we don’t get any extra points from beating Lovett,” Romberg said. “It is just our next region game. We are just trying to get ourselves in the best position to make the playoffs. Our goal every year is to make the playoffs. They are just the next team that we are facing. So as far as playoff implications, it is important for that.”
Lovett’s offense is led by Blaine McAllister who has passed for 990 yards and 12 touchdowns on 63-of-96 passing. McAllister has split touchdowns between K.J. Wallace and Peyton Ringer, each with six. The Wildcats are averaging 151.4 yards rushing and 120.4 yards passing.
Here are other games to monitor this weekend:
-- No. 1 Cedar Grove (7-0, 4-0) vs. Stone Mountain (1-6, 0-4) on Saturday: The Saints shut out Stone Mountain 55-0 last season, and barring a state-shattering upset, they should expect a similar result this season.
-- No. 2 Peach County (6-1, 3-0) vs. Kendrick (1-6, 1-2): Peach County defeated Kendrick 42-0 last year. Expect a similar outcome.
-- No. 3 Greater Atlanta Christian (7-1, 4-0) vs. North Hall (3-5, 3-1): The Spartans won 42-14 last year and should handle this game in similar fashion.
-- No. 4 Calhoun (6-1, 2-0) vs. Sonoraville (4-4, 1-2): The Yellow Jackets shut out Sonoraville 34-0 last season. There is little to indicate this game will be any different.
-- No. 5 Jenkins (7-0, 4-0) vs. Savannah (3-3, 2-2): Jenkins squeaked by Savannah last season, 21-20, on the way to a region title. This will be a test for Jenkins.
-- No. 6 Crisp County (5-1, 1-0) at Cook (3-4, 2-0): Crisp County beat Cook 47-14 last year during its perfect 10-0 regular season. The Cougars and Cook are the two remaining unbeaten teams in 1-AAA.
-- No. 7 Bremen (7-0, 2-0) at Adairsville (4-3, 1-1): Bremen beat Adairsville 49-24 last year and should have a similar result. The Blue Devils ran past Haralson County 38-14 last week.
-- No. 10 Morgan County (6-1, 2-0) vs. Hart County (2-5, 2-0): The Bulldogs, fresh off a 22-21 victory against Monroe Area, defeated Hart County 46-14 last season on the way to the 8-AAA title. Morgan and Hart are the two remaining unbeaten teams in 8-AAA.