Munford head coach Will Wagnon said his team has focused on themselves and has really addressed his team about the rivalry.
“We’ve had a really good week of practice,” Wagnon said. “To be honest with you we tired to work more on ourselves than actually Lincoln. We are trying to continue to get better; we still have some things we have to fix. We have a game plan, a good game plan I think. We are more worried about ourselves. We have to do the things that we are capable of doing and if we do then I think we will be fine.”
Lincoln head coach Brad Wallace played in the rivalry in the mid 1990s. Earlier in the week, he addressed his team about the importance of this rivalry against Munford.
“Before we even started practice, I came in and said, ‘Guys since I was a little boy I have known about this rivalry, I have been a part of this rivalry and it has been 19 years in the rivalry,” Wallace said. “I started to get chill bumps then. It means something to us it means something to Lincoln. I am just glad to be apart of it. It is Auburn-Alabama, it is Georgia-Auburn, it is Georgia-Florida. It is the big rival that you are going to have every year. I think our kids have focused pretty good this week. We are getting better and we are taking our steps. I think this is something that we need right, we need to be in a big time ball game, we need to find out where we are.”
This week, Wagnon and the Lions have approached the game like it is just another game, but he can tell that his players are excited to play the Golden Bears.
“They definitely are,” Wagnon said. “They understand what this means to both communities, what it means to the school, what it means to the county. They understand all that. Again, I have tired to put it in their heads that it is the next game; actually it is our first region game. So there are so many implications that make it big besides it just being a rivalry game. It is very important to both teams. It is real tough having it at the first of the season, but that is the way it fell. We just have to do our best to play like we can play.”
Last week, the Lions (1-0) scored 27 unanswered points in the second quarter to defeat Corner, 27-0 in the season opener. Wallace has been impressed with what he has seen on film of the Lions.
“They have great athletes,” Wallace said. “No. 10 and No.1 on the defensive side of the ball. They play very well and they move very well. When I watch games I watch numbers and keep up with what’s going on with them. They have some talented athletes on their side and it is going to be a phenomenal game. I think it is going to be a good one of those Lincoln-Munford games.”
The Golden Bears (0-1) enter tonight’s game looking to earn their first win of the season. Lincoln fell to Leeds, 12-6 last Friday.
“We got one film on them and they played a really good Leeds team last week and they played well,” Wagnon said. “I think they probably feel like the could have done better. They had some areas that they could improve. They are a really good ball club and they always are. Lincoln always has good football players. Coach Wallace, I think is doing an excellent job. I know what it is like coming in the first year to be a head coach. It is tough and I think he is doing an excellent job. He has them lined up in the right position and they are going the right way. It seems to me like it is going to be a tough game Friday night.”
Wagnon took away several positives away from last week’s game.
“I thought we played well upfront last week on both sides of the ball,” Wagnon said.” One of our strong points to our team is our skill guys. Our defensive skill guys were excellent, but our offensive skill guys I don’t think we played as well as we could. So we are working on it. Every day we have been repping, repping, repping and continuing to get better. We are still not where we need to be, but we are working everyday to continue to get better and get to a point where we are the best that we can be.”
After last week’s game Wallace believes his team needs to gain confidence.
“After watching the Leeds tape, I turned around and I told the guys that we had our opportunities to win that ball game,” Wallace said. “We have to build our confidence up and we need to be confidence in what we do. I think they took the field with a different mentality. They really focused in on what the game plan was on Monday when we installed it. It was a little easier coaching wise this week. They bought in to everything we wanted to do and they have been doing a really good job with their focus this week. They really concentrated on ball handling skills, throwing the ball, tackling, making sure that we are gang tackling and getting 11 bodies around the football.”
Wagnon believes if the Lions win the battle in the trenches it is one of the keys if they are going to improve to 2-0 on the season.
“We are going to have to protect the football,” Wagnon said. “We are going to have to play well on special teams. I think we are going to have to play well upfront.”
Wallace said not turning the ball over and slowing down the Lions playmaker are keys if they are going to leave with a win.
“Ball handling and we have to establish our running game with our tempo,” Wallace said. “We have to play great defense, if we can play great defense against all their skill guys we will be fine.”
Lincoln leads the series 34-33-1.
Kick off is set for 7 p.m. from Munford Staduim.