ELBA, Ala (WDHN) — As we approach the playoffs, the fight for better seeding becomes the priority for many teams. Here in the Wiregrass, one region has been very competitive at the top. In 2A region two, four teams are all separated by just one game as Geneva County, and G.W. Long are both undefeated and then Elba and Abbeville sit at one loss in the region.
This Friday night two of those teams face off as Elba will host the Geneva County Bulldogs.
Elba has wasted no time in making a splash in their new region as they went up in a classification moving up from 1A last year. The Tigers have built a winning program that has survived four different coaches over 15 years, so for them to be sitting at 4-2 and right in the thick of things in their first year at 2A should be no surprise.
Geneva County may be the shock of the season, but with a talent like Emmanuel Henderson, the Bulldogs were set up to have a dynamic rushing attack. Now sitting at 5-0, the boys from Hartford have proven that they are more than just Henderson. Last week, the Bulldogs beat rival Geneva for the first time since 1998.
Elba is coming off a loss at the hands of 3A Providence Christian, which is not a good way to enter the back half of region play. But, Elba Head Coach Marc Sieving knows exactly why they lost Friday night.
“We felt like we shot ourselves in the foot a lot. We had a ton of turnovers and there is plenty improve on from that game. We are going to have our hands full with a good Geneva County team,” Sieving said.
Coach Jim Bob Striplin at Geneva County is making sure his guys are not looking ahead to a game, that right now, is between two undefeated teams. That would be when the Bulldogs take on G.W. Long.
“The type of kids we are gonna play friday night are the kids who can win a championsh, so we do not take them lightly. We are gonna face it as if it was for a regional championship so that is our attitude,” Coach Striplin says about Elba.
In terms of Xs and Os, both teams enjoy running the ball and each coach will have the task of stopping one another.
Elba has a revolving door when it comes to who gets the ball. It could be quarterback, Ja’quez Prince from the signal caller position or the committee of backs the Tigers have. Chrystyile Caldwell, Jordan Coleman and Collin Harrison will all get carries Friday night giving them a well spread offensive unit.
“We feel like we have some good players here but we just have to clean up things on our end but we are excited for them to come down here,” Sieving said.
Emmanuel Henderson returns this week for Geneva County as he missed the rivalry game against Geneva with an ankle injury. But, coach Striplin says they were hesitant to play Henderson last week mostly thinking about the future risk.
“As a coach I just felt like it was the best thing for him and the team to keep him out and let him heal up a little more. We hope to get him back full this week,” Striplin said.
With Henderson missing that game, it gave guys like Will Birdsong, Colby Fuller and Ken’li Preyer to show that the Bulldogs talents go beyond their five star recruit of a teammate.
Heading into this game, the Bulldogs defense is hot as they only gave up six points to Geneva last week, and they will have to be stout again Friday.
This game will propel both of these teams in different directions. With a win, Elba maintains ground in terms of being a region champ but a loss would almost guarantee them placing atleast second.
Then for Geneva County, a win keeps pace with G.W. Long who are playing the winless Zion Chapel Rebels this week, but a loss would put them in second with both Elba and Abbeville right there with them.