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The 95th Meeting

Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 by Shannon Allen

The 95th meeting


Published October 29, 2009

The Albertville Aggies hope to build on the momentum gained from their two-game winning streak when they face archrival Guntersville on Friday at 7 p.m. at Chorba-Lee Stadium.

It will be the 95th meeting between the teams in the state’s oldest prep football rivalry. The series is tied 44-44-6.

Albertville head coach Joel Poole had nothing but praise for the Class 4A, No. 8 Wildcats, who are riding a five-game winning streak against AHS (5-4).

Guntersville (7-2) is coming off a 62-7 thrashing of Priceville that clinched the program’s first region championship.

“They’re real well-coached, fundamentally sound and tackle well,” Poole said.

“Every week they’re going to throw a competitive team out there, and if you can beat them, you’ve done something because they’re so good at what they do. I can’t say enough about them.

“They’ve got good plans and do a good job on defense, and their kids get after it. They hit you and keep on coming.

“The biggest thing going for them is they always think they’re going to win. They think they’re going to beat you every game. That’s their attitude and why they’re successful at what they do.”

Guntersville’s defense is stingy. The Wildcats have allowed only 84 points this season and have recorded four shutouts, including two in a row.

Poole said Mason Biddle, Corey Cahill, Jesse Teal and Brandyn Hawkins are leaders of Guntersville’s defense.

Biddle returned an interception for a touchdown in Guntersville’s 21-6 decision over AHS in 2008.

“Biddle plays outside linebacker and safety and does a tremendous job,” Poole said. “He’s a big skilled athlete. He’s a good football player.

“Corey Cahill makes lots of plays for them in the secondary.

“It’s going to be tough to move the ball on them. Nobody has too much.”

Poole said Cahill is also crucial to the success of Guntersville’s offense. He’s rushed for 383 yards, caught 24 passes for 412 yards and scored 13 touchdowns this season.

“How he goes is how they go,” Poole said of Cahill.

“(Quarterback Chris) Daniel makes them tick. He does all the right things. He gets the ball where it needs to be and makes good decisions.

“The (Rodriqueke) Faulks kid (at running back) is pretty fast.

“Their offensive line blocks well, and you can tell they’ve been taught well.

“Overall, they’re just a very sound football team.”

Poole said the Aggies must play turnover-free football to have a chance to topple the Wildcats.

“In the three region games we lost we had 12 turnovers, and we can’t do that.

“This past week we came out on the plus side of the turnover ratio and won the game. I know every coach in America says that, but it’s just the truth — it’s a big deal not to turn the ball over.”

Poole believes his team is playing better, and he said the Aggies are looking forward to Friday’s game.

“Not turning it over means we’re playing better,” he said.

“The kids are excited. Friday is a rivalry game and a county game. Games like these are what you play for, and we hope it can come out on our part. Again, they’ve got a great program, and it’s going to be difficult.”

The Aggies clinched a state playoff berth by beating Arab 14-12 last weekend. Poole praised several Aggies for their performances.

“Jose Zavala graded well on offense. Dareon (Thompson) suffered an injury but he played good early. Michael Reeves played pretty well. He had one pick, but I’ll take the blame for that. It was a bad play call on my part.

“Zach Underwood and Jarrod Bryant played good on the offensive line.

“Defensively, Adam Spurlin was our leading linebacker and graded out the highest. Trent Kuehnert played well on the line.

“Secondary-wise, T.J. Pams had a big pick and played pretty well.”

Poole praised Nathan Spence for handling the Aggies’ punting and place-kicking duties with success. He made both of his extra points, which proved to be the difference against the Knights.

“Our punt coverage team and Spence did a good job,” Poole said.

“Being a rookie kicker and 10th-grader says a lot for him. He’s 26-of-29 on extra points, and that’s pretty good for a first-year kicker. He’s a good receiver on top of that, and he’ll be a contributor there next year.”

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