Oak Grove Gears Up for Cross-Town Rivalry with Hattiesburg - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Oak Grove Gears Up for Cross-Town Rivalry with Hattiesburg

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Oak Grove's recent track record against the Tigers makes beating Hattiesburg a high priority for the Warriors.

"Just knowing that they've got us the last two years makes us want to fight throughout the whole game," says Oak Grove senior defensive end Taylor Braley.

Playing all four quarters is key for Oak Grove, after losing to the Tigers by just eight points combined the last two years.

While it may not be the same as losing to Petal, the Warriors still take this one personally.

"This is a very big rivalry," says Oak Grove senior running back Donald Winding. "It's cross-town - we know them, they know us - they know everything about us we know everything about them."

Until this season, Oak Grove and Hattiesburg both occupied Region 3-6A.

Hattiesburg now plays in Region 4-6A with teams on the Gulf Coast, but that does not diminish the quality of the rivalry.

"I mean it's just as big," says Braley. "I mean a rivalry game's a rivalry game. Even though we're not in the same division, that just means it doesn't count in your division. It's still a good game that you want to win every year."

But for the players, every year only comes four times.

This year's seniors have one last shot at getting the last laugh.

"We may not face them again in the playoffs, and this will be all - any chance to beat them," says Winding.

"Especially for seniors - just to come out on top with the last time we play Hattiesburg it'll be a win," says Braley.

Oak Grove head coach Nevil Barr expects Hattiesburg's best shot, and hopes his players are up to the task.

"So they're going to play hard - probably extra hard in this one because it's a rival game," says Barr. "Hopefully our kids will rise up to that same challenge."

The Warriors and Tigers square off at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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