PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - Petal and Oak Grove have met many times with more than just pride on the line.
Friday will be their first meeting in the South State championship.
Both the Warriors and Panthers have playmakers who will flash on Friday night, sharing blows back-and-forth. However, the real fight happens up front – where things get heated in this historic matchup.
"It hasn't really hit me yet,” said Petal senior defensive lineman Coldan Carter. “Ain't none of it hit me yet. I'm just excited, really excited for it." "I love being in the trenches, there's nothing like being in the trenches,” said Oak Grove senior offensive lineman Caleb Fortenberry. “We definitely go harder for sure because it's a rivalry. There's nothing like Oak Grove vs. Petal."
"I think it proves to South Mississippi, the best two teams in South Mississippi right now are ten, 15 miles of each other,” said Petal head coach Marcus Boyles.
"I think more than anything it shows how good our region is and how well you have to be playing to go to that ball game,” said Oak Grove head coach Drew Causey.
Petal and Oak Grove finished No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in a brutal region 3-6A which saw 2017 state champions Pearl left out of the playoffs. Since falling to the Panthers 21-7 in early October, the Warriors have reeled off seven straight wins and are averaging over 40 points per game. Petal has yielded just 8.5 points per game over the last five weeks.
It sets up a rematch that is sure to be remembered. “This is a big game for both schools,” Causey said. “It’s always fun to play this game. You don’t have to worry about the kids being ready for it, they’re always going to play hard and play well. We’re just going to see what we can do and go out there and play our best football.” “You don’t want to do too much,” Boyles said. “You’re here for a reason because what you’ve been doing is working so let’s not change a whole lot. Let’s do what we’ve been doing to get here and trust our kids and let them go out and play fast.”