Morgan Academy running back Jamie Bearden takes a handoff during last season’s Meadoview Christian-Morgan Academy football game. The Senators and Trojans play Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Meadowview. --File Photo
Morgan Academy running back Jamie Bearden takes a handoff during last season’s Meadoview Christian-Morgan Academy football game. The Senators and Trojans play Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Meadowview. -- File Photo

Morgan, Meadowview prepare for Thursday’s contest

Published 5:53pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It wasn’t long ago that the Meadowview Christian versus Morgan Academy football game drew comparisons to the Iron Bowl, with state championships on the line and competitive contests a familiar sight.

In present day, the rivalry’s magnitude has dropped off a little. Morgan has remained large enough to stay in Alabama Independent School Association Class 3A, while Meadowview has moved into AISA Class 1A.

The game no longer has playoff implications because the teams do not play in the same region or classification, so it could be argued that the rivalry doesn’t carry the same weight as it once did.

Going into the 2013 edition of the game, it looks like neither of the two teams got that memo.

The rivalry, renewed last season after being dormant since 2005, will take place for the 41st time Thursday night at Meadowview Christian.

“Last year, the excitement level was extremely high because it was the first time in several years that we’d played,” Morgan Academy head coach Bob Taylor said. “It is a big game. It is a rivalry game.”

Taylor said one of Morgan’s goals this season is to defeat the rival Trojans and continue pushing towards the playoffs.

“This is the next step in what we want to do for our goal,” Taylor said. “It is Meadowview, so it is a big game. The kids are excited and we are excited.”

Trojans head coach Lebo Jones has been on both sides of the rivalry, playing on two state championship teams with the Senators before becoming the head coach at the Meadowview Academy.

“Morgan will always have a special place in my heart, but I’m at Meadowview now and I’m going to do the best I can while I’m there,” Jones said when asked to speak about his time in the rivalry.

Thursday night Jones is hoping his team can rebound from a week one loss against Sumter Academy, where Meadowview was outscored 47-0.

“We had a tough game Friday night.  We only have a few dressed out this year, but we played hard,” Jones said. “We just got beat by a better football team and going into this week — a big rivalry — we are just trying to keep our heads up and play the best we can.”

Meanwhile, after his Senators rolled Pike Liberal Arts 49-0 last week for an opening victory, Taylor said his focus this week has been on bringing his team down to earth following their emotional high.

“They are excited to play,” Taylor said about his team. “After last week’s big win, we’ve kind of had to bring them down a little bit — get them refocused on what we are doing.”

With the rivalry game on the horizon, Taylor said getting his team refocused has not been as challenging as he thought it might be.

“They kind of regrouped and got ready to go,” Taylor said. “I told them we’ve got the 24-hour rule, enjoy this one and then we have to get refocused in on Meadowview.”

Both teams faced a short week with Labor Day on Monday and the game being played on Thursday and not Friday, but both coaches said their teams put in extra work last weekend and are ready to go.

Depth may be an issue Friday night for the Trojans.

While Morgan dresses 33 players, Meadowview lists only 17 players on its official roster.

The Trojans may be able to draw some energy from former head coach Bobby Wasden, who will be doing the honorary coin toss at the game. Wasden led the Trojans to numerous football championships in the 1980’s.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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