VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — It's a game that needs no introduction, the Winnersville Classic.
It's a game with two new head coaches, two programs looking to win State, and two programs that want to beat each other.
This week's Friday Night Overtime Game of the Week is Lowndes at Valdosta.
"Well this is one of the biggest rivalries in the nation," said Jamey Dubose, the head football coach at Lowndes. "Not just Georgia or the southeast but the nation."
First-year Vikings head coach Jamey DuBose sums it up perfectly.
The Winnersville classic stretches beyond the city limits of Valdosta, but every one of these players understands the added baggage that comes with a rivalry as storied as Winnersville.
"It is a lot of pressure playing in the Winnersville classic especially as a senior in my opinion," said Leon Williams, a Lowndes defensive end. "The game is on your back and everybody's coming to see you."
For Valdosta senior Chris Mcclain there's a real bitter taste in his mouth for how this game has fared for the Wildcats over the last few seasons. But with added emotions comes a responsibility for leaders like him to make sure the rest of the team stays focused on the task at hand.
"We just try to tell everybody don't let the atmosphere ruin how you play," Mcclain said. "It's a big game but it's just another game."
Both head coaches in this contest also get to experience their first Winnersville classic at the helm of their respective programs. But DuBose and Valdosta's head coach
Rush Propst are all too familiar with one another.
Despite the tension that comes with a game of this magnitude, there's nothing but shared respect between the two.
"He's a friend of mine, he's a good football coach and I respect him," said Propst. "We've crossed on the other sideline in a state championship game when I was the head coach at Hoover and he was the coordinator at Prattville High School."
"Coach Propst is a respected coach of mine," Dubose said. "He hired me, he was the first to give me a job as an assistant coach."
That game kickoffs from Bazemore-Hyder Stadium Friday at 8 p.m. It will also be televised nationally on ESPN 2.