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Rebels have shot at title game

If Lowndes Academy gets through No. 1 Monroe Academy on Friday, they’ll return to the AISA Class AA state finals in Troy for the second time in two years.

Monroe (11-0) has decimated opponents throughout the year, relying on speed, big plays and tough defense. The Volunteers have outscored their opponents 410-76 and pitched five shutouts along the way.

But based on the Rebels’ 38-8 win over Pickens last week, Lowndes coach Art Sullivan does not think the Volunteers can intimidate his team (9-3).

“It seems like we’ve played best against our toughest opponents. (The Pickens game) was about as ready to play as I’ve seen our team the last few years.” Sullivan said.

The Rebels’ No. 1 task Friday: Keep Monroe running back Sam Vermiliyea in check. He averages 160-170 rushing yards a game.

Lowndes coaches are equally concerned about the Volunteer defense.

“It’s a very aggressive, attacking defense. We’re going to try to do some things to counteract that,” said Lowndes defensive coordinator Matt Marshall.

This is the first meeting between the schools since the Rebels knocked off the Volunteers in the first round of the 1999 playoffs.