'Only show in town': RMA, FCS to sneak in rivalry game


Rocky Mount Academy's Jacob Braddy, left, runs the ball Tuesday during practice in the Rocky Mount Academy gymnasium.


Sports Writer

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

On Tuesday afternoon, while other high school football teams in the Twin Counties were settling into a forced week off, Rocky Mount Academy was settling into a film session, with a walkthrough practice in the gym to follow.

All 10 local schools in Nash and Edgecombe Counties, from Southern Nash to North Edgecombe, shuffled schedules over the weekend to change matchups from Friday to Wednesday. All except two reneged and decided it best to either cancel or postpone games for Week 5.

The last ones standing are the Rocky Mount Academy Eagles and the Faith Christian Patriots, who will stick to the plan and play their rivalry game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at RMA.

“We’re going to get it done,” RMA coach Terrell Hudgins said on Tuesday. “I guess we’ll be the only show in town.”

Despite the coming severity of Hurricane Florence, the forecast for Wednesday night as of Tuesday evening called for only a 15 percent chance of rain at kickoff, an improvement from the heavy rain and thunder that forced the Eagles inside for practice on the eve of the rivalry game.

The two programs spoke on Sunday and decided it best to move the game to Wednesday, and on Monday doubled down on a decision that they’d get the game in. Of course, close proximity between the in-town schools helped. Beyond that, a postponement to an important regular-season game would have been a headache.

The Eagles’ next bye week isn’t in-tune with the Patriots’. And simply erasing the matchup from the schedule wasn’t an option.

“The kids are excited about us playing. I’m sure Faith is just as excited about getting a chance to beat us,” Hudgins said. “It’s one of those games you don’t want to miss, one you want to figure out a way to get in no matter what.”

RMA enters the game 2-0, with a 14-game win streak overall going back to its undefeated run to a state title last year, and Faith Christian will enter its fourth contest of the year with a 2-1 record, having lost over the weekend to Raleigh St. David’s.

As Hudgins geared up for a toned-down practice on Tuesday afternoon in the cramped RMA gym, he lamented the idea of an inside practice leading up to a second game in five days.

Then again, up the road, the Patriots were dealing with the same problem.

“We were worried — are we going to have enough time to prepare for it? But I guess we’re in the same boat they are. So we said, ‘Let’s go play. Let’s get it out of the way,’” Hudgins said. “But we just have to get some mental reps, watch some film. We won’t be able to get the physical reps, but if we can get the mental reps in, then we’ll be all right.”