Britton: Tremendous rivalry
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
The rivalry between the two schools began 84 years ago in 1920. Through the ensuing years Hartselle owns 36 wins, while Cullman owns 34. Few high school rivalries have been as competitive.
"When you say Cullman and Hartselle in the same sentence, it gets your adrenaline flowing," Cullman head coach Mark Britton said. "I've played in this game and coached in it. It's one of the oldest football rivalries in the state. As a coach you don't have to worry about your players being motivated to play this game. It's just a tremendous rivalry."
"Motivation shouldn't be a problem," Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey said. "This is a big rivalry game and it's important in the region standings. Our guys know how important this game is."
Cullman comes into this year's game with a 3-3 overall record and 2-2 in 5A, Region 8 play. The Bearcats own region wins over Curry and Brewer, while they have dropped decisions to Walker and Athens.
Godsey feels the Cullman record is not indicative of the Bearcats' talent level.
"They've lost two tough games that they could have won," Godsey said. "They could easily be 5-1 coming in here."
The Bearcats' coach hopes this year's contest will be a low scoring defensive struggle, but he worries about the Tiger offense and their ability to score.
"They have a potent offense," Britton said.
"We need to control the ball. I want to look across the field and see their offense standing on the sidelines for a long time. That's the best sight I could see Friday night."
Britton said Cullman must slow down the Tiger running game.
"(Justin) Youngblood is the best back we've faced this year," Britton said. "He's one of the best backs in the state.
"I don't think you can stop him. I just hope we can contain him enough to get our defense off the field."
Britton hopes his offense can control the ball and take time off the clock.
For the Bearcats to do so, Britton says running back Daniel Munger and quarterback Carson Williams need to have big games.
"Daniel has missed three games with a concussion," Britton said. "We got him back last week and he's his old self. We need him to come up big Friday. Carson needs to play well and not turn the ball over.
"The Hartselle defense is very aggressive and they create lots of turnovers. I think their defense is better than it was last year when we faced them."
Godsey doesn't think the Bearcats present the matchup problems they did last year.
"They were really big last year," Godsey said. "I don't think they are as big as they were, but they play hard, so we'll need to be ready."
A close game may favor the Bearcats because of the presence of sophomore place kicker John Nyquist, who has made field goals from 47 and 52 yards this season.
Godsey's Tigers can clinch a playoff berth with a victory Friday, a fact he has made his team aware of.
"We know we're one win away from the playoffs," Godsey said.
"But, we want to clinch the playoffs and then clinch a home playoff game. Our guys know we can clinch a playoff spot by beating Cullman."