Oxford (1-1, 0-1) at Gadsden City (2-0, 1-0)
Last week: Gadsden City 35, Lee-Huntsville 20; Clay-Chalkville 25, Oxford 16
Last meeting: 2011 Oxford 14, Gadsden City 13
Series record: Gadsden City 5, Oxford 2
By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent
“It’s the next game, so it’s the most important right now.”
That’s the phrase Gadsden City coach Joe Billingsley used to describe this week’s game against Class 6A, Region 7 foe Oxford.
Because of proximity of the schools, this annual showdown has also become a big rivalry game.
“Playing Oxford is always a big challenge,” Billingsley said. “They’ve got a great winning tradition and some great athletes.”
This game has been played every season since Gadsden City was formed in 2006, and a lot of the characteristics of a rivalry have formed.
“We always get their A-plus game,” Oxford coach John Grass said. “It’s grown to the point of a real rivalry. The kids on both teams enjoy playing, and it’s good for the fans. It’ll be a hard-fought game, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Billingsley-coached team.”
Last week, the Yellow Jackets lost to another rival in second-ranked Clay-Chalkville, a team that many think is capable of winning a state championship. Then comes the potent Titan offense, which has posted 65 points in two wins – enough to startle a young defense.
Last week against Lee-Huntsville, running back Trevor Sandridge rushed for 163 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns
“Whichever back is running the ball well will be our featured back that week,” Billingsley said. “According to how they practiced all week and based on what type of defense the other team throws against us, we’ll decide on the running backs.”
Grass knows that the Titans have great backs, but he can’t depend on just stopping them, because there are also plenty of great receivers on the GCHS roster.
“They can stretch the field on you and they can run up the middle, both equally well,” Grass said. “We’re going to try to defend them and hope for the best.”
Oxford has two defensive ends in Trent Simpson and Ulrich Jones who have committed to play for Mississippi State. Gadsden City receiver B.J. Hammond has also committed to play for the Bulldogs.