By Alvin Richardson
Things don’t get any easier for Morgan County this week as they play host to the North Oconee Titans out of Bogart, Georgia. The Titans began playing football in 2004 and have put together a very good record over that span of 85-49 including their first two seasons when they won only one game. In 2006 Terry Tuley took over as head coach and Tuley has led North Oconee to a record of 84-31 with two region titles and eight straight trips to the state playoffs. The Titans – a Class 4A school lost their opener last week to Class 6A Grovetown (near Augusta) by a score of 20-9.
After having seen the Titans on film Head Coach Bill Malone noted a couple of things in particular and said, “Their defensive scheme will be difficult to prepare for because they have their lineman going lots of different ways. Our offensive line will have their work cut out for them. Offensively they (North Oconee) scored only one touchdown against Grovetown and that was a kickoff return.”
Morgan County and North Oconee have played twice – in 2012 and 2013 with the Titans winning handily in both of those games. In 2012 North Oconee handed the Bulldogs a 35-7 loss and in 2013 they rolled 56-14. Since 2010 the Titans have had a lot of success. They posted records of 11-1, 10-2, 7-4, and 9-4 before backing off to a 5-6 record in 2015 when they moved up in classification.
Despite the fact that the teams have played only twice with neither game being close, an intense rivalry has developed between the schools. Part of that rivalry is due to the relatively close proximity of the communities but there seems to be something else just under the surface that has given this game the sizzle of a long-standing rivalry.
North Oconee certainly presents a challenge for Morgan County. They are a bigger school and have had recent success but it is high school football and you never know what might happen. Both teams will be hungry for that first win and that should make for some excellent entertainment.