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Cathedral: St. Al rivalry still big

NATCHEZ — Rodney Hall insisted he wasn’t exaggerating.

The junior defensive end for Cathedral High School said he remembers the Green Wave going up against rival St. Aloysius when Hall was in eighth grade. And he remembers how nasty it got.

“About three fights broke out,” Hall said.

Hall said he grew up watching Cathedral play St. Al and called it an “all out war,” but he said the rivalry has sort of toned down in recent years. But when the Green Wave take on the Flashes in Vicksburg tonight, Hall said he still expects both teams to be very into the game.

“It’s still intense,” Hall said of the rivalry.

One of the reasons the rivalry has gotten a little more down-to-earth is that the Flashes haven’t been as good in recent years as they have historically, Hall said.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but the competition isn’t as good as it used to be,” Hall said.

But while St. Al is 1-4 on the young season, the Green Wave are just 2-2, and Hall said recent history has no bearing on tonight’s game.

“This year, it’s anyone’s ball game,” Hall said. “That’s how we’ll come into the game thinking. They’re a good ball team, so we can’t get a big head. We have to play them like it’s any other football game.”

Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said the Flashes will bring a very determined, physical football team to the field.

“They probably coach up their players as well as anyone we play,” Rushing said. “You can throw the records out the window. A few years ago we went up there and got out with a 13-7 win, and we were favored by more than that. We’ll get their best shot, and hopefully they’ll get ours.”

Cathedral is currently fighting through several injuries. Quarterback Thomas Garrity and linebacker Peyton Jenkins are expected to play after recovering from shoulder injuries, but running back Khalil Brice (torn meniscus) and receiver Ishmael Blackmon (pulled shoulder ligaments) are done for the season.

While Blackmon is only a junior, Brice is a senior, and Rushing said missing the rest of his 12th-grade year was tough on Brice.

“He’s trying to make the best of his situation because he’s a senior, but I know it’s a burden to him,” Rushing said.

Rushing also said the Flashes have suffered from a rash of injuries.

“They’re kind of in the same boat as we are,” Rushing said. “They’re playing a lot of young kids. I’d like to say that have at least five starters out.”

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. today at St. Al.

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