ELCA has dominated Strong Rock Christian in four matchups and Stockbridge has had the upper hand against most of the county programs since Kevin Whitley has been the head coach.
However with all of their recent success, ELCA and Stockbridge, which are barely six miles apart, have never officially lined up across from one another on the gridiron. But this Friday that will no longer be the case when the Tigers (0-1) visit the Chargers (0-1) at Commitment Field.
“I think it is a game that this county wanted to see,” Whitley said. “We know they won a state title. They’ve probably been the best program in our county, if not the state. We will have our hands full but just do the best we can.”
Stockbridge is aiming to bounce back from its season-opening, 30-21 loss to Central-Phenix City last Friday. ELCA has exactly the same plans after a 31-14 setback to Mount Paran in the Battleground Kickoff Classic in Columbus last Saturday. Josh Mays had 79 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Chargers, who trailed 17-0 at the half.
“That big touchdown they got, when it was 17-8, was big,” ELCA coach Jonathan Gess said. “We had all the momentum and on third down they scored on a big play. That, obviously, was the turning point right there.”
This loss ended the Chargers’ 36-game winning streak against Class A opponents in the regular season. The last time ELCA lost consecutive games in the same season was in 2009.
“We talk about winning the day all the time, getting better each day,” Gess said. “We don’t worry about anything that is outside of our control. Who we play is outside of our control. But we do control our effort every single day. We control getting better every single day and that is really what we talk about.”
The last time Stockbridge lost back-to-back games in the same season was 2010.