VINEMONT — The last four meetings between Vinemont and Hanceville have been anything but kind to the Red and White football program.
The Eagles are 0-4 in those contests and have been outscored by an unruly 147-40 margin en route to four runaway wins for the Bulldogs.
On Friday, however, coach Alan Scott and Vinemont (1-1) will look to solve their own Rubik’s Cube when they battle with county- and Class 3A, Region 5-rival Hanceville (0-2) inside Eagle Stadium.
“They’ve been the dominant team in our region over the past few seasons,” Scott said. “Coach (Danny) Miller has done a great job building that program. I think our kids know what we’re up against this week. Those guys are physical up front, and they’ve got some really good skill guys, too.”
Scott’s group is fresh off its first victory of the season — a 45-26 beating of 4A Danville — and is hoping to parlay that momentum into a nice region win on Friday.
In order to do so, the Eagles will need yet another sensational performance from running back John Michael Dye. The talented junior has tallied up 400 rushing yards on 55 carries so far this season, including a 258-yard outing versus the Hawks a week ago. He, along with senior backs Orey Woods and Bo Wright, have thrived in the run game for the Red and White.
Unfortunately, Vinemont hasn’t exactly been the greatest at stopping the run game, either. The team allowed 321 ground yards in a season-opening loss to Addison and a handful of big plays to Danville as well.
With a smashmouth squad like Hanceville, Scott knows his group will need to fare much better should it want to come away with a win.
“They’re going to line up and run downhill right at you,” he said. “They can really run the ball down your throat. Addison was a lot like that. We’ve got to prove to ourselves that we can stop a big, strong running team. We’ve got to go out, compete and do what we do.”
The fact the Eagles have been unsuccessful against a county rival such as Hanceville has not been lost on the players, especially the seniors.
Just ask Blake Melton.
The Red and White senior has never tasted victory over the Bulldogs in his entire playing career — a trend he’s looking to change as soon as possible.
“From seventh-grade ball until now, we have never beaten those guys,” Melton said. “First region game against Hanceville. A rivalry like this. This needs to be our statement game.”
Melton is confident if his team comes out and finishes games strong — it hasn’t done that so far — then things will work out for everyone en route to a nice, comfortable win.
“If we can take care of our business, we’ll be fine,” he said. “They’ve really always had a good team. They play hard and they get after you. It will not be easy for us at all. We’ve just got to find that pedal, drive and keep on it for four quarters of football.”
Added Scott: “Our mentality going into this game is that we have got a lot to prove. We’ve got goals. This region game is even more important in that there’s no wiggle room in a seven-team region like ours. Only four are going to the playoffs. We want to be one of those four.”