The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

October 4, 2013

Athens-East Limestone rivalry new, but intense

— It’s not the oldest rivalry in Alabama high school football, but it has become one of the most heated in recent years. When Athens and East Limestone’s football teams face off tonight, you can throw out the records.

Not that you would need to. The teams enter tonight’s matchup with similar records and are both coming off out of region victories a week ago.

“This week takes care of itself,” said Creasy. “Our focus level is good. No problem motivating them this week.”

Athens seniors certainly need no motivation after losing the last three times to their bitter rival. But something is different about this Athens team. Despite a couple of region losses to Muscle Shoals and Hartselle, the Golden Eagles defense is as salty as ever.

“We would have liked to have been a little more consistent,” said Creasy. “We’ve made some good things happen, but not enough touchdowns. It’s great having the ability to score. To get those field goals, that’s a big positive. We’re trying to become more consistent in the red zone.”

The leader of that Athens’ defense is Johnnie Anderson, a starter since the day he arrived on campus. For Anderson, this will be the senior’s last chance to beat East Limestone.

“We’ve got to win. We’re hungry to win it,” said Anderson earlier this year. “Everybody in town is wondering, ‘Are you going to beat East this year?’

The Indians enter tonight’s game off the heals of their best offensive outing in nearly two years. The 59-42 win over James Clemens was East Limestone’s second consecutive victory after beginning the year 0-3.

Behind a more multiple offense featuring some spread packages, the Indians have averaged 31 points per game this season, buoyed by the return to the football field of senior Jordan Gandy.

Gandy is new to the rivalry. The senior previously only competed against Athens in basketball and watched from the stands as the Indians won the last three games on the gridiron.

“Everybody talks about it,” said East Limestone senior Jordon Gandy in an August interview. “Everybody around school doesn’t care if you don’t win a game as long as you beat Athens. It’s a big rivalry. Probably one of the biggest ones in the state.”

In five games this season, Gandy has scored every way possible. The wide receiver/safety has averaged 27 yards per rush on five rush attempt and 16 yards per catch on 27 catches with six total touchdowns. He has a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown and a 96-yard interception return for a score.

“They run two entirely different offenses,” said Creasy. “They can be a power-off tackle team and pound it and they have Jordan Gandy, who can score every time he touches the ball.”

Nobody knows more about the rivalry than East Limestone head coach Jeff Pugh, who played at Athens from 1974-77. Pugh and Creasy agreed to play one another for the first time in 2006. It was the first ever meeting between the teams and the first time Athens had played a Limestone County school since the 1950s

“When we first started playing them, I don’t think they thought we had a chance to beat Athens, being a county school,” said Pugh earlier this year. “The first game we had here, there were 12,000 people here. I’ve never seen it like that. The away side was full two hours before the game.”

Athens won that inaugural meeting between the teams 44-15, but East Limestone proved this would not be a one-sided rivalry when they pulled out a 7-6 victory with a blocked extra point the following year.

Athens took the next two in the series before losing to East by an average of just six points in the last three games.

Text Only
Local News 2
  • tractor*pull!2!.jpg TRACTOR PULL: A new generation takes over in Tanner

    One of the first families of the Tanner pull is the Haneys. Horace Haney, along with brother, Shirley, co-founded the event in 1976 that draws thousands to the county each year. The sons of those pulling pioneers now run the show.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay! Haney!.jpg Clay Haney follows in father’s footsteps

    After watching his dad pull for the past 20 years, Clay finally got his chance. Although he has pulled multiple times over the years, this will be the first year to compete for points in the Mid-South Pullers Association.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • North win streak improves to 12

    The South last won 85-76 in in 2002.

    July 24, 2014

  • Local athletes lead North to soccer sweep

    East Limestone’s Dilan Sayer scored the opening goal and was named MVP of the boys game in a 3-0 win while Jordan Runion scored her team’s opening goal in a 3-1 for the girls.

    July 23, 2014

  • Davidson helps North tie

    She was one of only three North players to record a hit in the opener, which ended 3-3.
    Pitching duties were shared by Lexington’s Jessie Butler, Central-Florence’s Ashley Irons and Hartselle’s Jada Hayes along with eventual North MVP Maddie Moore of Winfield.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tedford, Potts take on the South in All-Star hoops game

    Stace Tedford has had a busy year at Athens. After leading the basketball team to a school-record 24 consecutive wins and regional finals appearance, he jumped straight into soccer season, where he took the varsity girls soccer team to another 5A state championship game.
    Wednesday, Tedford will be on the court again, coaching in the North-South All-Star basketball game.

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong local presence at state All-Star Week

    Some of the top rising seniors from the Athens-Limestone area will play in six of the games, beginning with softball and soccer games Tuesday.

    July 19, 2014

  • Chris Seibert -1996.jpg Before politics, Seibert played for the Tide

    A standout on West Limestone’s football team, Seibert’s road to Tuscaloosa wasn’t an easy one. Determined to play at the highest level, he attempted to join the Tide as a walk-on in fall 1993.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • State softball tournament begins in Athens today

    The three-day, double-elimination event begins at 6 tonight at the Athens Sportsplex.

    July 11, 2014

  • Run with goats Saturday

    Belle Chevre Creamery will hosts the first annual ‘Running with the Goats’ Saturday in downtown Elkmont. The event will feature a 10K, 5K and fun run on the certified Rails to Trails course.

    July 10, 2014



Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee