By JOEL COLEMAN
Current East Oktibbeha head football coach Randy Brooks says he's still friends with former Titans coach Anthony King.
Yet as King prepares to return to Crawford tonight, now guiding West Lowndes, Brooks says his friendship with King has taken somewhat of a week-long hiatus.
"We talk about once a week," said Brooks of his relationship with King. "I don't think we'll talk too much (before tonight) though. We can talk on Saturday."
King, who left East Oktibbeha prior to the 2010 season to become an assistant coach at Noxubee County, became the head coach at West Lowndes prior to this season.
After a whirlwind couple of years, King says he's looking forward to coming back to pay his old team a visit, but on another level, it won't be easy.
"It's kind of difficult actually," said King. "Those guys that are seniors, I had when they were freshmen. It's a great bunch of kids and it will be a little different playing against them."
King doesn't plan to let his emotions get the best of him tonight though. Having now coached at both schools involved, King knows what's at stake.
"It's a bitter rivalry," said King. "I know from experience (East Oktibbeha) is real fast so we have to try to get to them before they can get started because if they can get a step on you, they're pretty much gone."
Brooks hopes his Titans (4-1 overall, 2-0 in Class A, Region 3, District 4 play) can indeed run away from the Panthers (2-2 overall, 1-0 in district play) during tonight's 7:30 p.m. contest.
Yet recent history hasn't been too kind to East Oktibbeha in this series.
"We haven't beaten West Lowndes in about six years, so we have a small amount of revenge involved," said Brooks.
If East Oktibbeha can come anywhere close to duplicating last week's performance, a 46-14 win over Ethel, Brooks and the Titans have a good shot at getting their payback.
Brooks says he saw a lot last week that he hopes carries over to tonight.
"Our offensive line really played well," said Brooks. "We had two running backs rush for over 100 yards (James Brown and Kortland Petty) and another (Terence Rice) that rushed for a lot as well. So it's no secret what we're planning on doing. Basically our offense is just going to pound the rock."
Weir (1-4) at West Oktibbeha (2-2)
Last week was a struggle for West Oktibbeha.
After falling on the road to Nanih Waiya 50-14, head coach Adam Lowrey and the Timberwolves look to bounce back at home tonight in a 7:30 p.m. game against Weir.
Following their difficulties of seven days ago, Lowrey believes his team is now better suited to face the challenges that are ahead the rest of the season.
"We've found out now who wants to be here," said Lowrey. "Adversity will thin out the crowd quickly and make the cream rise to the top.
"I've really been pleased to see who wants it. I've really been able to put my focus on the kids who really want to improve in the sport of football and who want to be a part of our small family."
St. Andrews (2-3) at East Webster (3-2)
It's been nearly a month since the East Webster Wolverines played a game at home.
That stretch ends tonight as East Webster hosts St. Andrews.
After a stretch of three-straight road games in which the Wolverines won two of the three, East Webster head coach Doug Wilson says it will feel good to be back in Cumberland for tonight's 7:30 p.m. game.
"We had three weeks of a long, hard road," said Wilson. "We're just glad to be back in Webster County."
The Wolverines come into tonight's game on the heels of a come-from-behind, 12-7 win over Walnut. Wilson hopes his club can carry that momentum over into tonight's game.
"We played well against a good team," said Wilson of last week's game. "We fell behind, but the guys fought hard. In the third and fourth quarter, the offense played probably as well as they have all year and the defense played well for four quarters. We just didn't make quite as many mistakes as we have been."
Ackerman (2-3) at Caledonia (3-2)
After suffering a heart-wrenching 21-18 loss at home to Bruce a week ago, Ackerman hits the road tonight for a 7:30 p.m. game against Class 4A Caledonia.
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Like the Indians, the Confederates are also on the heels of a loss as Caledonia fell to New Hope 28-0 last week.
While the Confederates were essentially shut down their last time out, Ackerman just missed topping Bruce before losing in the final seconds.
Despite that, Indians head coach Adam Dillinger said he believes his team improved over the course of the Bruce game.
"This is a loss that we can build from," said Dillinger after last week's game. "We're a better team now than we were last week and that's the main thing."