Game of the Week: East faces West in rivalry game

East Limestone quarterback Dillon Parris hands off to Kollin Swart during the Indians' game against Lee-Huntsville earlier this season. East will host West Limestone in a county rivalry game Friday night.

Friday will be the 49th time West Limestone and East Limestone have met on a football field. But few of them have had the anticipation this year’s matchup has.

Both teams enter Friday’s game on a roll, with West Limestone undefeated at 4-0 and East Limestone sitting at 3-1 with three consecutive dominating wins.

Both coaches expect a full house at East Limestone’s Cavnar Field when the two rivals meet in what has been a very evenly played series. Each team has won 24 times, although East has won three in a row, including last year’s 26-15 victory.

“The East Limestone community has always supported football, and I’ve been at West Limestone before, too, and those are good people who love football and they support their kids well, too,” East Limestone coach Jeff Pugh said. “I think the stadium will be packed, and it will be a good atmosphere. I’m glad we’re at home, and West has to ride the bus over here.”

The game will be a style in contrasts on the offensive side of the ball. East Limestone likes to run the football and operates out of a formation similar to the wing T. West Limestone is more conventional offensively and is more balanced in the run and the pass.

“What’s hard to simulate is their size and strength,” West Limestone coach Shelby Davis said. “Obviously, we have no chance at simulating that. I took a look at everybody on our schedule, and they’re by far the biggest and strongest team we’ll have to go against.”

Davis said it’s important for his defensive players to stay disciplined in order to stop the East Limestone rushing attack that has been rolling up yards and points the past three weeks.

“Every play, you’ve got to be focused on your key and stay locked in on that,” he said. “Staying disciplined and keeping your eyes where they’re supposed to be is definitely crucial.”

Pugh said he has been pleased with his team’s rushing attack but says the Indians will need to throw the ball better in order to win games against the tougher part of the schedule, which begins Friday.

East has hardly needed to throw the ball in the three-game winning streak, but Pugh knows that will change.

“As well as we run the ball, the play action pass is always open,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of running better routes and getting open, and then getting the ball to our receivers when they are open.”

West Limestone’s passing game has not been a problem, with sophomore quarterback Colin Patterson growing in confidence every week, Davis said.

“With Colin, it’s a lot about confidence,” he said. “He has the confidence in the guys around him and they have confidence in him. The coaches have confidence in him. Each week he works hard to try and get better. As talented as he is, it would be easy for him to not be coachable and not work on the things he needs to work on, but that has not been a problem at all.”

No matter what the outcome of Friday’s game is, both coaches believe it will help their teams when they get back into region play the following week. West Limestone will travel to Brooks, while East Limestone heads to Lawrence County to take on the Red Devils.

“I think it will make us better as a team to play them,” Pugh said. “It will definitely help us when we get back into region play next week.”

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