Northeast, Southeast gearing up for cross-county rivalry matchup
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Week one of the high school football season is always an exciting time, especially when two local teams are slated to face off.
This season, fans of Northeast and Southeast Lauderdale have been given a treat as both team’s will face each other in week one of the 2020 season.
Over the past five seasons, both teams have faced off in either the second or third week of the season. However, the 3A-4A clash will kick off the season for both programs and likely draw in many residents around Lauderdale County.
“It should be a great atmosphere since it’s a county game,” Southeast head coach Calvin Hampton said. “Northeast has fans, Southeast has fans...since my time here there’s been fans coming out of the woodwork so it will be a great atmosphere as long as everyone has their masks on.”
Northeast head coach Maurice Gowdy said he’s no stranger to coaching in rivalry games but is looking forward to participating in his first one as a head coach.
“These kids know each other and probably go to church with each other so any time you’re dealing with a rivalry it doesn’t matter if you’re 3A, 4A or 2A because all that goes out the window,” Gowdy explained. “Coach Hampton has coached in this game a few times and this is my first time to actually be part of it so I’m excited.”
As far as who is feeling the pressure to win Friday, Coach Hampton believes the Tigers carry more of the burden.
“I think the competitive nature is more on on us right now because Southeast has typically been that school in the county that other teams look at and say ’oh that’s a win for us,’” Hampton said. “When it comes to playing county opponents we look at it as a chance to make a statement...so it’s really about our guys stepping up and doing what they need to do.”
For Coach Gowdy, Friday’s game is the first real opportunity to see his new team in action and address what needs to be improved in weeks to follow.
“We’re looking at Friday as an opportunity to see some younger guys - maybe guys that haven’t even played high school football before have an opportunity to play under the Friday night lights,” Gowdy said. “We look forward to the challenge every Friday no matter who it is...but with the first game being Southeast I’m excited for the kids and the community.”
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