Meridian Star


October 23, 2013

Russell Christian, Lamar square off for 1st time

MERIDIAN — After a switch to the Alabama Independent School Association eliminated the chance of a playoff appearance this year, Russell Christian Academy head coach Nate Ballard said the Warriors have dedicated the 2013 season to earning the community’s respect.

    Friday night, the Warriors will get that opportunity as they travel up the road to take on Mississippi Association of Independent Schools powerhouse Lamar School at 7 p.m.

    “We are trying to eventually build a rivalry with them,” Ballard said. “So, for us, it’s going to be ‘the game.’ I mean, it’s Lamar. It’s an opportunity to play a team that’s well known around the state and see where we stack up against them.”

    While Ballard said his team has a ways to go to get to Lamar’s level, the Raiders definitely serve as a model of what he wants his program to become.

    Russell Christian (4-3) has challenged itself this season as every team on the Warriors’ schedule has qualified for postseason play. Lamar (7-2, 3-1) will be no different as the Raiders bring the fastest team RCA has faced all year.

    “That has been the hardest thing for us to simulate in practice,” Ballard said. “We can’t simulate their speed or their strength. You have to just show the kids what they are going to do and tell them what to prepare for.”

    Originally the two teams were going to play in the first game of the season. However, scheduling issues pushed the game to Week 10. Lamar head coach Mac Barnes said he will use this game as an opportunity to prepare his team for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs. The Raiders also come into the matchup banged up and will be without Shane Blanton (concussion), Chance Purvis (leg) and Dalton McHenry (hip) for the game.

    “The state championship game is in four weeks, and we’d love to have some of those guys there healthy,” Barnes said. “We’ve had a very light week of practice this week, and we are just trying to recover health wise.”

    The Warriors have struggled controlling teams with good power-running offenses this season. While Barnes said the Raiders will still look to utilize their speed Friday night, he also noted Lamar will look to run right at Russell Christian to overpower the Warriors.

    Russell Christian’s switch to the AISA might cause scheduling issues down the road, but both coaches remained optimistic about continuing the matchup in the future.

    “Obviously, it has drawn a lot of interest,” Barnes said. “Hopefully we can continue it. I know with playing Northeast Lauderdale, it is great financially only having to travel four miles. It also certainly helps bring a big crowd."

Text Only
NCAA Tournament News
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Local Sports