In other words, it will be a typical contest between the two archrivals as they get together for the latest chapter of the Battle of Buckhead on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Westminster’s Alfred E. Thompson Stadium.
Lovett (4-4, 2-0) is currently tied for first place in Region 6AA with Greater Atlanta Christian, while Westminster (3-5, 1-1) is only a game behind both teams in the five-team region.
There is certainly more at stake for Lovett coach Mike Muschamp than neighborhood bragging rights.
“Anytime you play Westminster, it’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Muschamp said. “With the rivalry between the two schools, all the region implications of the game makes it even more exciting. It’s exciting for everybody.”
While both Lovett and Westminster are assured of clinching state playoff berths in the five-team Region 6AA, seedings are at stake — with both teams trying to secure top-two placings and gain home-field advantage in their first-round games.
“Obviously, it’s important to the state playoff picture for both teams,” Westminster assistant coach Joe Sturniolo said. “Given that it’s a five-team region, both of us are going to the playoffs. We’re going to be playing a team from Region 7[AA]. Calhoun is in that region and they are the No. 1 team in the state and that would be a tough first-round matchup for us, so we want to be in the best position that we can get in the region and the only way to do that is to beat Lovett.”
Westminster leads the series 16-8 and has won the last three games with its Buckhead rival — including a 21-2 victory at Lovett’s Conley-Oakley Field last year.
This season Lovett has regained some momentum after breaking a four-game losing streak with two straight victories in 6AA play.
The Lions continued their surge with a 24-21 win on the road over Wesleyan on Friday.
“Anytime you can win, it’s a good thing,” Muschamp said. “We were happy to end that four-game losing streak. Every game is a big game for us at this point.”
Westminster comes off a bye week and hopes to maintain the momentum that it built from its convincing 42-17 win over Wesleyan two weeks ago that snapped a three-game losing skid.
“No doubt it was a big win for us,” Sturniolo said. “This year we have played a tough schedule. We played a lot of top-10 [state-ranked] teams in our non-region schedule and then we played GAC [in the Wildcats’ Region 6AA opener], which is another top-10 team, so to be able to get a win gives our kids a big boost of confidence.”
Running back Grant Haley and quarterback Willie Candler lead the way on offense for Lovett, while senior inside linebacker John Coletti spearheads the Lion defense.
Westminster looks to get big games from quarterback Jake Forte and tailback Nigel Walker, with Clay Smith anchoring both the offensive and defensive lines for the Wildcats.