Northeast Lauderdale and Lamar will play for the first time this Friday. They're separated by less than six miles, and many of the players who take to the gridiron will recognize those opposite the line of scrimmage.
However, both head coaches feel there will be nothing bitter about this inaugural show-down.
"You know, you're always going to have those jabs when you get a private school playing a public school, so I just tell our kids not to worry about it," says Trojan Head Coach Curt Blackburn. "Because I know they're going to be a well-coached football team. And they're going to be fundamentally sound."
"Other guys, you know you read about them in the paper. And then some of our guys know some of theirs. But, you know... it's more just the fact that it's two Lauderdale County schools... the first time the schools have ever played," says Lamar Head Coach Mac Barnes. "I think there's a good bit of excitement from that stand-point.'
The Raiders will celebrate homecoming festivities on Friday, something Barnes believes does not work to his advantage.
"Homecoming is not a week that coaches like," says the Raider coach. "There's so many activities that get your mind off the game, so we really don't like the fact that we're playing Northeast during homecoming, but we're playing four division games, two on each side of 'em, and there was no other place to do it."
Barnes says the third quarter in last Friday's loss to Jackson Prep was the only bad one his team has played all season. Behind solid protection from the offensive line, freshman quarterback Davis Harrison has over 700 yards of offense.
At Northeast, preseason talk surrounding senior offensive linemen Devarkious Mosley, Reginald Hopson and Brandon Windham has turned out to more than hype. Behind the "big three", the Trojans are running for over 300 yards per game.
"I've been telling 'em it's no different from Southeast Lauderdale and West Lauderdale. There's going to be a bunch of kids that know one another on the field, and it's going to be a battle."