Battle for the Valley: Lanett-Valley highlights week one games

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2022

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Week zero was a rough start for most of the teams in the Greater Valley Area, but there are still a lot of games left in the season.

Chambers Academy and Beulah were both shutout. Valley suffered a tough loss to Handley.

LaFayette had offensive woes in their loss to Loachapoka. The Lanett Panthers were the only team in the area to win as they dominated Notasulga.

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Week one includes several important matchups, including the Lanett-Valley rivalry. Springwood will also begin its season this week.

Game of the week: Valley (0-1) at Lanett (1-0)

The first game of the season where two Chambers County teams will play each other will be the rivalry between the Panthers and the Rams. Lanett will face the challenge of playing a 5A school, but that hasn’t hindered them in recent years. Although Valley leads the overall series 56-32-2, the Panthers have won three out of the last six games.

Valley Head Coach Adam Hunter will be entering his third year as part of this rivalry, and he hasn’t lost to Clifford Story and Panthers yet. In those two games, neither team scored more than 20 points.

For Story, this game is more of a test for his team than anything else.

“It means a lot to the old heads” Story said.

“The only reason I say it’s not a rivalry is because of the difference in schools now. Playing a team like Valley is going to be a great measuring stick for us. They’re 5A and we’re 2A, but we’re not going to attack it that way. We’re going to go compete and play.”

For coach Hunter, he knows this game means a lot to the community, but he also knows it’s a way to help him fix his special teams.

“It’s a chance to play another good team,” Hunter said.

“There’s a lot of tradition between Lanett and Valley. Our kids are excited about it. It’s a good environment for our community to get together and wathc these kids represent our schools. We’ll probably get Lanett’s best game. We need to go out there and win all three phases of the game. Special teams killed us this past week, so we have to fix that.”

For both coaches, it’s a way to build on the history of a rivalry that has dated back to 1927.

“When it was a serious rivalry, Lanett was one of the largest 4A schools in the state, and Valley flirted between 5 and 6A over those years,” Story said. “Since I’ve been here, us and LaFayette are more evenly matched. It still means a lot to both communiuties.”

Valley will look to rebound after their close loss to Handley last week while Lanett will try to carry momentum from its shutout victory versus Notasulga. The game will be played at Morgan-Washburn Stadium on Friday night at 8 p.m. ET.

Southern Prep (0-1) at Springwood (0-0)

The Springwood Wildcats will begin their new era of 8-man football with a matchup against the Southern Prep Fighting Rangers. This will be the fourth time these two teams play, and Springwood leads the series 2-1. Southern Prep won last year 40-16.

Joey Burch will be coaching his first game as head coach of the Wildcats. Southern Prep is coming off of a 50-7 loss to Lakeside.

The game will be played at Springwood at 8 p.m. EST on Thursday.

LaFayette (0-1) at Bullock County (1-0)

The LaFayette Bulldogs are coming off of a loss to Loachapoka where they struggled heavily on offense. Their one touchdown was a defensive touchdown from defensive back Joshua Combs.

The Bullock County Hornets are coming off of a 33-16 win over Keith.

The 2A Bulldogs will have the challenge of going on the road against a 4A team.

LaFayette is 15-5 all-time against the Hornets, and they’ve won eight straight games against Bullock County. However, the two teams haven’t played since 2013.

The Bulldogs lost their starting quarterback, Zae Towles, to an injury in the loss to Loachapoka, and his status is uncertain.

The game will be played at Bullock County at 8 p.m. EST.

Beulah(0-1) at Loachapoka(1-0)

The Beulah Bobcats are coming off of a shutout loss to Abbeville, and it doesn’t get any easier as they have to travel to face a Loachapoka team that blew out LaFayette last week.

The Bobcats struggled on both sides of the ball last week, and they’ll have to deal with a team who is carrying a lot of momentum.

The Bobcats are 11-22 all-time against Loachapoka, and they’re 2-2 in the last four matchups.

Beulah lost to Loachapoka 40-28 last year, but Beulah is a much healthier team than they’ve been in the last two years.

The game will be played at Loachapoka on Friday at 8 p.m. EST.

Chambers Academy (0-1) vs. First Presbyterian Day (0-0)

The Chambers Academy Rebels are coming off of a loss to Lee-Scott, which was their first shutout loss in nine years.

The Rebels lost a lot of players from last year, and it showed in their season opener. They couldn’t get anything going offensively, and they couldn’t stop the big plays.

Things won’t get any easier as the Rebels travel to Carrollton, Georgia to face a team who is currently ranked second in the Georgia Independent Athletic Association.

The game will be part of the SECIS, which is a competition that pits some of the best independent schools in the southeast against each other.

This will also be the first time these two teams have ever played each other.

The game will be played at the University of West Georgia at 7:30 p.m. EST on Saturday.