One thing is guaranteed every time East Limestone and West Limestone face off on the football field — a huge crowd.
Whether the game is played at East or West, a standing-room only crowd is there to watch the matchup.
This year, West Limestone hosts its county rival Thursday night after defeating Tanner 21-2 in last Thursday's season opener. East Limestone played a jamboree against Russellville last Friday, opening up a 14-0 lead in the varsity portion of the game before eventually falling 20-14. The junior varsity played the second half for both teams.
“We expect that place to be packed when we get there Thursday,” East Limestone coach Jeff Pugh said. Our kids know it's time to put on a show for real. It's the beginning of the football season, and people take football seriously here. Limestone County football always draws big crowds, and we're the only game in town on Thursday night, so everyone in the county can come out and watch.”
West Limestone coach Shelby Davis said everyone at the school is excited for another rivalry matchup to start the season.
“Our kids are excited, our coaches are excited and the community is excited,” Davis said. “We had a big crowd last week (at Tanner), and we anticipate an even bigger crowd this week. It's fun to play in that kind of atmosphere. The kids like to be seen, and hopefully it will be a competitive game people will enjoy.”
Pugh was mostly pleased with East Limestone's performance in the jamboree last Friday.
“We made some mistakes, but the intensity was there,” Pugh said. “We've got a few things we need to polish up on, like finishing drives and correcting some mistakes we made defensively.”
Davis said he was pleased with the effort and intensity of his players in their victory over Tanner, although the execution was sometimes lacking.
“We knew going in we had a team that would be relentless and play hard,” Davis said. “And that kind of resonated after the game was over. They are going to play hard and not give up. But we are going to have to block better, tackle better and execute better if we want to beat East Limestone.”
This will be the 48th meeting between the two schools on the football field. It has been a very close matchup through the years, with East holding a 24-23 game advantage. The Indians have won the last two against the Wildcats, winning 21-19 at West in 2017 and 34-3 at home last season.
“It's not a region game, but East and West has always been a tough, hard-fought football game,” Pugh said. “Ever since I coached at West, East Limestone was who we wanted to beat. That's the way it is now. Most of the teams in the county want to beat East Limestone. We've got a mark on us, but that's the way it ought to be. If people aren't proud of beating you, that means you're not a very good program.”