Lanett, AL (WRBL) – One of the historic East Alabama high school rivalry games will play it’s final game this week. For over 50 years, the Lanett Panthers and LaFayette Bulldogs have faced off on a grid iron that draws the community in.
Why is this rivalry coming to an end? Chambers County School District has recommended to close LaFayette High School after this academic year. Those students will merge with nearby Valley High School. When that happens, they’ll rename the school.
Now that means the Panthers and Bulldogs rivalry will end. On paper this is just another region match up. Lanett head football coach and LaFayette native, Clifford Story, talked about what the end of this rivalry means to so many.
“It’s sort of heart breaking. If it does happen and we’re not going to be able to read all the social media posts, all the jokes, everything that goes along with it. At the end of the day I hope that a lot will come out from it, and a lot of kids will get to reflect and look back on what it once was,” said Story.
LaFayette head coach Juan Williams explains that despite the players wearing different uniforms, there are plenty of family ties on the football field when these two sides meet.
“Our kids know their kids, you know their friends and what not. They’re on social media back and forth with each other. Kids on both sides have families. They have families down there. We’re talking about kids that are playing their cousins. We know each other and they know us,” said Williams.
The final LaFayette vs. Lanett rivalry game will kick off at Morgan-Washburn Stadium at 8 pm ET.