While the two teams met up in 2008 and 2009, this will mark the first time they will play each other as region opponents since the two were both in Region 6-A. Now the Red Devils (5-1, 3-1 Region 5-AA) have moved up into Class AA and are back in the same region with the Tigers (1-5, 1-3).
"I thought we had a great rivalry going when they were in [Region] 6-A. I think we played them six to eight straight years and had some physical, close ball games. I think it's great if you can play county opponents. I think the fans get more involved, the kids know each other, it's community versus community. It should be a great night of football," Bowdon coach Dwight Hochstetler said.
The Tigers haven't had the easiest time with the Bowdon rivalry, coming up winless in 12 attempts. But this year, the way region games have gone, every Friday night is another chance.
"We're just excited to be playing in Bowdon and it being a county school. Historically, we haven't had a lot of success against Bowdon. We're 0-12 lifetime. You go back and look, I think only one of those has been a really close game. We know the importance of playing them," Temple coach Seth Rogers said.
Tonight's game has a different set of importance for each of the teams. The Red Devils are coming off a 49-27 win against Jordan and are still looking to put a loss to Manchester two weeks ago behind them for a strong region finish to get into the playoffs.
"We try not to bring up the Manchester loss too much. I think they realize we didn't play well that night. The film session that week we pointed out a lot of mistakes and we made a lot of mental mistakes that night, too," Hochstetler said. "They realize we're behind the 8-ball and can't take anyone lightly ... To get in the playoffs, we've got to pretty much win three out of the four or the last four ball games. We love a challenge, and we've got a big challenge this Friday night and the rest of the season."
The Tigers are looking to get their season back on track after a slow start, as they are currently in the middle of a three-game losing streak.
"We're just trying to get a little better. The score didn't really indicate last week. I thought we played really hard," Rogers said. "Our kids played hard and we're playing a bunch of younger guys. There's no quit in them, and I was proud of that fact. We got a little better at doing some things. [Quarterback] Elijah [McFarland] is coming a long way and so are a lot of other kids."
While many have been surprised by some of the results that have come up in Region 5-AA in the last couple of weeks, the Temple coach is not one of them. Rogers has played in this region long enough to know every team, regardless of its record, has a shot to get a win when the lights are on Friday night.
"I see [Hochstetler and Bremen coach Ricky Tolleson] every week at the radio show, and for the last couple years we've always eaten dinner on Tuesdays. I told them this region has a bunch of athletes and any given week you can be out-athleted. I think they're seeing some of those things this year. There's some good football teams in Columbus, obviously what Heard's got and then you had Bremen and Bowdon. It's a good region," Rogers said.
Hochstetler would add Temple to that list with some of the players the Tigers line up with on both sides of the ball.
"Temple's got some athletes. They've got that great tall receiver [Trevor Shell], they've got two scatbacks that if you let them turn the corner, they can take it the distance. And their quarterback, we saw him on film earlier this season and he has improved tremendously. If we don't play defense, if we don't tackle, it's going to be a long night," Hochstetler said.