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Top ranked Golden Tigers hosting No. 4 Deshler in big rivalry game

The Russellville-Deshler game has become one of the best rivalry games in north Alabama. The teams will continue that rivalry Friday night at Russellville.

Rivalry games are part of what makes high school football so special in Alabama.

Friday night one of the biggest rivalries in northern Alabama takes place when Russellville hosts Deshler. The teams have opened their seasons against each other several times, but perhaps this year is bigger than most.

This year the stakes are high as the Golden Tigers enter the season ranked No.1 in Class 5A. Deshler is ranked No. 4 in Class 4A.

The target is clearly on Russellville’s back. The Golden Tigers have reached the state championship game the past two seasons and many expect them to return this year.

Russellville earned No. 1 rankings in each of the past two seasons, but the glory was short lived. The Golden Tigers fell to Hartselle a few days after earning the honor in 2008 and the same thing happened in 2009.

The Tigers would love to keep that trend going.

Deshler could use a win here to jump start the season. They have the toughest games of their season at the beginning of their schedule and a victory in this game could springboard them to a great year.

Of course, the Tigers have another reason for wanting to beat Russellville — a losing streak to the Golden Tigers that dates back to 2005.

Deshler lost one of its best players in Deion Belue to graduation, but the Tigers have been one of the best teams in Class 4A for several years. There is no reason to think that will end this season.

After experimenting with the spread the past few years, Deshler is expected to return to its bread-and-butter offense — the Wing-T.

Russellville has a talented and athletic defense that can contain the Tigers’ offense, but fans can never really know what to expect on Friday nights.

This Friday, however, they can expect two teams who dislike each other and rowdy fans on both sides of the field cheering on their team for a crucial win.