Lake area rivals Quitman and Rose Bud open their season on opposite sidelines for the fifth consecutive year tonight, a day earlier than scheduled. With the competitive series tied at 2-2, the winner takes home bragging rights for at least a year. Look for game story and photos in Wednesday's edition of the Sun-Times.
Originally scheduled for Friday, the game was moved up to Thursday due to the threat of storms produced by Hurricane Isaac.
Guaranteed to be full of intensity, passion and hustle until the final whistle with both teams using no-huddle high octane spread attack, the two have combined for 156 points in their past two meetings with the Ramblers winning 39-33 in 2010 and the Bulldogs prevailing 48-36 last season.
"Everybody knows everybody," said Rose Bud Coach Steve Rose. "A lot of the kids are related. They get fired up to play us and we get fired up to play them."
Quitman Coach Fritz Heidenreich said the entire town is pumped up. "It is a big game for Quitman, especially being the smaller school. The cheerleaders have painted the town black and gold with signs and posters everywhere. A lot of people are fired up about it."
For Quitman to win, Heidenreich said his team must slow down Rose Bud duel-threat junior quarterback Christian Reynolds (6-2, 195). "A big key for us is stopping Christian Reynolds. They run the option very well with him. He is a big time athlete that can run and throw. We have worked hard on the option but that doesn't mean we are going to stop it. We haven't done the best job of tackling [in practice]. They have a tough runner inside [Cole Robertson] and throw a lot of screens too."
Rose expects to see a heavy dose of senior all-state running back Allen Mannon (5-9, 210) and senior all-state receiver Hunter Martin (6-2, 185), who lines up all over the field. "Last year they really hurt us with the screen, reverses and misdirection plays. They were able to gash us on some of that stuff. With Mannon and and Martin, we think they will have a very good ground game."
Rose Bud appears to have an advantage in size and depth. "We haven't seen them scrimmage but athletically, I think it will be a fairly even match-up," said Rose. "Our depth is usually an advantage for us. We are bigger and have pretty deep depth for a 3A school. The speed is about even."
Entering his fourth year as head coach and fifth season at Quitman, Heidenreich said this is the best Rose Bud team he has seen. "I think they have a size advantage and probably a depth advantage. We've got some guys that can run and make things happen with the ball. So, we've got to spread the ball around and we can't turn it over. This is the best Rose Bud team I've see. They beat Bigelow like yard dogs."
Page 2 of 2 - Opening kickoff set for 7 p.m.