Red Raiders-Tigers rivalry is a rematch of familiar faces
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
With the schools just 15 minutes apart, Hartselle-Decatur would be a fierce enough rivalry on its own.
But when you add in the fact that the Tigers' and Red Raiders' coaches have known each other for years and were once on the same coaching staff, the rivalry takes on a brand new dimension.
Current Hartselle coach Bob Godsey and Decatur coach Jere Adcock were each assistants under Steve Rivers' Decatur team from 1990-95. Godsey served as the team's quarterbacks, running backs and defensive backs coach and Adcock was the offensive and defensive lines coach.
Rivers left Decatur in 1996, and Adcock took over as the team's full-time head coach with Godsey as his offensive coordinator. Godsey remained with Decatur until 1998, when he took the head coaching position at Brooks. He became Hartselle's head coach in May of 2003.
"It's a special game because it's an old established rivalry," Godsey said. "The fact that I worked with these guys at Decatur eight years makes it even more special. The fact that I know these guys and have the utmost respect for them increases the rivalry."
Adcock has the utmost respect for Godsey, as well.
"I think it does (add more to the rivalry)," Adcock said of being friends with Godsey and the Hartselle coaching staff. "I really respect him and know what kind of a person he is. I know that not only does he try to teach his kids but the game, but also the important things like a work ethic and good habits."
Decatur comes into this Friday's game at J.P. Cain Stadium with an unblemished 4-0 record, a fact that is not overlooked by Godsey and his Tigers.
With a win Friday, this year's Hartselle team would be the first Tigers team since 1985 to defeat both Austin and Decatur in the same season.
"I think there's a lot that rides on this game," Godsey said. "Players know each other, parents work with each other and that kind of thing. Our guys will be ready to play, and we know that their team will be ready to play, too."
Last year, the Red Raiders defeated Hartselle in a 30-3 game that wasn't as lopsided as the score might suggest. Decatur took advantage of several big plays – including a kickoff return for a touchdown – on its way to handling the Tigers at Ogle Stadium in Decatur.
But this year's game is in the Tigers' den, and even with a 4-0 record and a No. 12 ranking in the state polls as of Sept. 14, Adcock and his Red Raiders are not underestimating their opponent.
"I think that we'll get (Hartselle's) 'A 'game," Adcock said. "I know that (Godsey) will have them ready to play and he'll throw a few things at us that we haven't seen yet.
"I'm sure that he knows every weakness we have and he'll be looking to exploit them on Friday."
For Hartselle to win, Godsey knows that his team will have to deal with talented senior running back Steve Shackelford. Shackelford ran for four touchdowns and collected 310 all-purpose yards in Decatur's opening 27-26 win over Class 5A opponent Athens, one of Hartselle's region rivals.
"Their offense runs through him, and if you had a player of that caliber, you'd probably run the ball a lot too," Godsey said. "For us to win we're going to have to do a good job of controlling him – I don't think you can stop him completely, but we at least need to control him. We've done a good job of that in the past, but then we forget some about the other aspects of the game.
"We've got to do a better job there, especially on offense – we need to score some points to win."