"In my opinion, this is going to be one of the biggest games in the state on Friday."
It's been three years since East Lawrence and West Morgan have met on the gridiron. To outsiders that doesn't seem like a long time, but to the communities of both schools, three years feels like an eternity.
Liken it as a smaller version of the River City Rivalry, the annual grudge match between Austin and Decatur that also happens to be taking place this Friday.
Separated by a county line, East Lawrence and West Morgan technically share the same community, both of course having a Trinity address. East Lawrence, located on the far east side of Lawrence County, sits at the top of the Mountain, while West Morgan, located on the far west side of Morgan county, sits at the bottom. Thus deemed the Battle of Trinity Mountain.
Unlike Austin and Decatur, there's no vast highway full of restaurants and businesses that separate East Lawrence and West Morgan. No the town of Trinity is a simple place. A few stoplights, a couple gas stations, a Jacks and a handful of small local businesses are what Trinity has to its name.
But make no mistake about it, the passion and history that runs in this rivalry is just as intense as any around.
"It's something special to me, always has been," said Glavine Segars, quarterback of the West Morgan Rebels. "I grew up in East Lawrence and moved here when I was in seventh grade, so I've been in this community my whole life. This Friday is going to be special to me, something I'll remember for the rest of my life."
Opposite Segars will be East Lawrence's Levi Barnes, who shares more than just the Quarterback position with him.
"I've known Glavine since we were 1 or 2 years old. He’s one of my best friends,” Barnes said. "I think that speaks to what this rivalry is. We may be on different teams, but all of us have grown up together."
Like Segars, Barnes shares his opinion on how important the rivalry is to the players and the community.
"I remember going to that game when we were kids," he said. "You grow up in this community and you know all of them and they know all of us. It's like playing against your family."
The two teams have met 35 times in their history with the first meeting coming in 1979 (East Lawrence's first year fielding a football team). The Rebels lead the series 20-15.
These past two seasons of not playing have been just the second time the schools have had a gap between play, the first being a four year gap from 1992-95.
In their last meeting the Rebels stomped the Eagles 55-0 en route to a 10-2 region championship season. The Eagles finished 0-10.
Barnes was at a loss for words when describing the feeling of that 2017 loss, and said this game was immediately circled when the 2020 schedule was released.
However, since there's been no meeting the past two seasons, only current seniors know what it's like to suit up against each other. That means it's up to those seniors, such as Barnes, to remind the Freshman-Juniors this week in practice what's at stake on Friday night.
"I don't know if any of the underclassmen were at that game (in 2017), but they all know how important this game is to us seniors," he said. "Hopefully it'll become important to them as well."
East Lawrence has their sights on their first winning season since 1997. Likewise, West Morgan thinks this year could be a big season after two years of rebuilding.
That could make for some fireworks this Friday.
"This game is obviously big to me, because it's like a homecoming," Segars said.
But I honestly believe, in my opinion, this is going to be one of the biggest games in the state on Friday."