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All or Nothing

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

When Hartselle travels to Ogle Stadium this Friday to take on the Austin Black Bears, it won’t exactly be all or nothing. Win or lose, Hartselle will still move on to the playoffs while Austin may slip into a possible three way tie, but will still be in good position to make playoffs. However, to both of the teams “All or Nothing” is exactly what Friday is to them. Both teams are fighting for the chance to host a home playoff game in the first round, which is a big deal. Hartselle has not hosted a home playoff game since 2012 while Austin has not even made playoffs since 2013.

Austin head coach Jeremy Perkins knows the importance of this upcoming matchup. “Were excited to have the opportunity to play in this game” Perkins said “Hartselle is a very good team and to be able to play in this game I think says a lot about our team, because you don’t get to play in this kind of game without being a good team.” Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey shares a very similar viewpoint on the game. “Were excited to have the chance” Godsey said, “games like this are the reason you play football.” Both teams were locked in at practice this week and each coaching staff preached a similar strategy in their own individual ways. Perkins preached to his Black Bears that Hartselle would work harder than any team they played this year and that they had to play mistake free football. Godsey tried to stress to his tigers that one slip up or one guy not going 100% could mean the difference in 6 points and possibly the game.

Both teams are definitely feeling the effects of a long season as both teams are banged up. Godsey knows that his guys just have to play through it. “It’s a grind” Godsey said “Were about to play our fourth big game in a row, and you just have to grind it out.” Perkins stressed to his team as well that they are entering crunch time in the season. “There are no more easy games” Perkins said “We have Hartselle this week, Bob jones next week, then we get into playoffs and we have to play playoff teams.”

With all the playoff and region implications in this game, the rivalry aspect has taken sort of a backseat in this game, but there is no doubt that it still looms. “Its rivalry for sure, Hartselle and Austin have played a lot” Godsey said, “It may take a backseat a little because of all the implications but its still there.” Since 2010, Hartselle is 4-1 against the black bears. However, the lone loss came the last time these two teams met in Ogle stadium in 2012, a game in which Austin overcame a 21-0 halftime deficit to win the game 42-35 in double overtime. There is sure to be plenty of fireworks Friday night when these two teams meet and will all the stakes that are riding on it, there is no doubt that they will be playing with an all or nothing mentality.