WALB GAME OF THE WEEK (10/11/13): Winnersville Classic always a - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

WALB GAME OF THE WEEK (10/11/13): Winnersville Classic always a battle

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

It's without a doubt the biggest rivalry in all of high school football. Not just in the state, but in the country.

It's Valdosta versus Lowndes, the Winnersville Classic, and it's our game of the week.

The two state powers will collide tonight at Lowndes' Martin Stadium.

Tickets for the game have been sold out since Wednesday.

The Concrete Palace will be rocking Friday, and both teams are ready for the atmosphere.

But both coaches say the team that handles the hype and the energy best will be the team that wins the game.

"It is a game. You're supposed to have fun in a game," says Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson. "That's the way we try to look at it. Obviously we want to win the game, but you can't be so tight that you cant execute."

"It's something I want them to experience, that I want them to remember," says Valdosta head coach Rance Gillespie. "But at the same time, there has to be a balance once the game starts. It's football."

This game is always big.

Just like the cliche says. you can throw out the record books.

But this year, those record books are awfully important, especially in the region standings.

Valdosta enters tonight's showdown 0-1 in Region 1-AAAAAA play. Lowndes is 1-1.

With the region so wide open this year, a win tonight for either team could launch them back into the title chase. A loss could count you out.

Gillespie knows the stakes are high.

"It's important because its Lowndes. It's important because of the rivalry between the two schools," says Gillespie. "But then it has region implications on top of that. It's vital that you're at your best physically, mentally, spiritually and you play your best football."

The Wildcats would like to change what the record books read recently in this rivalry. The Vikings have won eight of the last nine ballgames against Valdosta.

We'll have highlights tonight on the Locker Room Report.

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