When: Saturday, September 4, 7 p.m.
Where: Hugh Mills Stadium
Records: Albany 1-0, Westover 0-1
Last Week: Albany defeated Dougherty, 16-14. Westover lost to Mitchell County, 26-14
All-time series record: Albany leads 21-16-1
First meeting: Albany 7, Westover 2 (1970)
Last meeting: Westover 19, Albany 7 (2007)
Like last week’s match-up between local GISA rivals Deerfield-Windsor and Sherwood Christian, local GHSA foes Albany High and Westover will square off on the gridiron for the first time in three years this weekend. The Indians won seven of the first eight meetings over the Patriots during the 1970’s, with Westover fighting Albany to a 13-13 tie in 1974. The Patriots didn’t get their first win in the series until 1978. That was when they routed the Indians, 31-7.
Both programs have had their share of struggles in recent years. Coming into the 2010 season, Albany High had won just two games over the last four years, before knocking off Dougherty last weekend. From 2005-2008, the Indians had lost 23 straight games. Over the last 50 years, dating back to 1960, AHS has had just 12 winning seasons, winning nine games just once during that span (9-3 in 1988). The Indians lone state title was in 1959, when they finished unbeaten at 12-0. Since then, Albany High has advanced to postseason play just four times (1988, 1989, 2001, 2002).
As for Westover, its football history has been one of struggle as well. Since the first varsity team took the field in 1969, the Patriots have had only four winning seasons (6-5 in 1981, 8-3 in 1982, 6-4, in 1993, and 8-5 in 2007). Additionally, Westover has reached the playoffs four times in program history (1981, 1982, 2004, 2007). The deepest postseason run for the Patriots came in 2007, when they lost to Chamblee, 41-26, in the Georgia High School Association Class AAA state quarterfinals.
While Albany High still has the all-time lead against Westover, the Patriots have had the upper hand in the series recently. Westover has won the last five meetings over Albany, with the Patriots outscoring the Indians 134-31 between 2003 and 2007.
Both teams enter this weekend’s contest with relatively new head coaches, as Felton Williams take the duties for the Indians full-time after going winless at 0-10 in 2009, while Octavia Jones replaced Jeff Caldwell as the Patriots head coach. Both coaches will have the enormous task of turning their respective struggling programs into winners.
Although it’s just the second game of the 2010 season, both programs have a lot to play for going into this weekend’s contest. Albany will try to start a season at 2-0 for the first time since 2002, the last time the Indians advanced to the state playoffs. On the other hand, Westover hopes to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2001, when the Patriots finished 4-6.
On the Web: Georgia High School Football Historians Association (www.ghsfha.org)