Playoff seedings, league titles on the line
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 28, 2011 1:48 PM
There is nothing quite like the passion, intensity, familiarity, bitterness and history associated with a rivalry in the world of sports.
Rivalries have split communities, infiltrated families and neighborhoods and been an ongoing source of bragging rights for generations. Whether it is a scrimmage, a highly-anticipated regular-season meeting, a conference tournament or state-playoff showdown, the goal never changes -- leave no doubt about who the better team is.
Princeton, Rosewood, James Kenan and Wallace-Rose Hill resume their respective rivalries tonight.
The Bulldogs and Eagles are playing for fourth place in the Carolina Conference and a better state-playoff seeding. Rosewood prevailed in 2010, but Princeton won the previous two meetings in 2008 and 2009.
The Eagles lead the all-time series 30-9.
"I think this game means a lot to the kids and the communities," said Bulldogs' head coach Russell Williamson. "I think to the coaching staffs it's just another game. I'm sure the kids and the communities are more hyped up than the coaching staffs. We've played pretty two good teams the last two weeks. I think offensively we've been OK all year and we've been all right defensively."
Rosewood (4-5 overall, 1-3 Carolina 1-A) enters the game on the heels of a 35-point loss at North Duplin. The Eagles have dropped four of their last five games, but that means nothing tonight.
"It's a huge rivalry," said Rosewood head coach Robert Britt. "Our communities are eight miles apart, and the kids and the families know each other. It's going to be a huge game because it's one of the biggest rivalries we play all year. It's senior night for us and there will be a lot of emotion tied to the game.
"Both of us are playing for a seeding in the playoffs. Not only is it a big rivalry and the emotions are going to be high, but there's definitely something to play for, too."
When the Tigers and Bulldogs clash at Bill Taylor Field in Warsaw, the Tri-County 1-A Championship is on the line. The Bulldogs, the defending N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A state champions, are 9-0 and ranked No. 1 in the latest Associated Press prep poll.
W-RH averages 43 points a game and allows eight points per game.
James Kenan (6-3, 6-0 TCC) has won six straight games after starting the season 0-3. A switch to the Wing-T offense after losing quarterback Parker Jones to a concussion has paid dividends for the Tigers, who have outscored their opponents 168-58 during that stretch.
Devon Best leads Kenan in rushing with 987 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Tigers have rushed for more than 340 yards in four of their last six games.
Kenan and Wallace-Rose Hill have split their past six regular-season meetings, but the Bulldogs hold the all-time edge 32-24 since the two schools underwent consolidation in the mid-1950s.
"If we can win (tonight) it would tell our guys we are better than we thought we were going to be six weeks ago," said James Kenan head coach Ken Avent Jr. "It would definitely give us an idea of where we're at."
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