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Lizi Arbogast / The Herald From left, Edgewood's Colton Jones, Carson Peevy and Kaleb Varner converge on Autauga's Freontay Cutler.

Since the 2018 season ended, Edgewood has had its eyes set on getting another chance at Escambia in the semifinals of the AISA-AA playoffs and after 10 games of the regular season, the two teams seem primed for a rematch. However, both teams have to get past their first-round opponents and the Wildcats must defeat Lowndes before they can try to get their revenge.

Edgewood (8-2) is not having problems staying focus on this week’s opponent according to coach Darryl Free but he did admit getting the rematch with Escambia is something the coaching staff has mentioned to the players. 

“We really do use that as motivation,” Free said. “This first game is against a good Lowndes team but what better way to keep our kids focused than to remind them this is standing between them and a chance at redemption. They understand if we lose, we go home so if we want the opportunity to get another shot at Escambia, it starts this week.”

Edgewood is coming off its largest margin of victory with last week’s 56-6 win over Success Unlimited and its first two-possession win since Week 4. The Wildcats now have some momentum to take into the postseason after losing at home to Autauga in Week 9.

“We had a great week of preparation going into that game,” Free said. “It was good for us to get back in the swing of things and get back on the right side of things. I thought we did a good of job of correcting some mistakes and I feel like we’re hitting on all cylinders heading into the playoffs.”

Lowndes (5-4) lost its last two games of the regular season but both losses came to ranked teams and have the Rebels prepared for tough competition in the postseason. Their regular season ended with a 31-12 loss to Wilcox, a team that beat Edgewood 35-14 three weeks prior.

The two teams have three common opponents with the Wildcats beating two of those and the Rebels just one. Both teams defeated Springwood but Edgewood knocked off Macon-East in double overtime while Lowndes lost to the Knights 18-13 despite forcing four turnovers.

Despite the comparable schedules, Free said it can be difficult to pull anything extra from those common games.

“It all depends on when they fell in the calendar,” Free said. “If you’re looking at a game in Week 2, a team can change identity two or three times by Week 11. You do look at some of the common opponents but only if they run something similar to us.”

While the Wildcats can find some things from their common opponents, their most important preparation work may have come earlier in the season against Evangel-Alabaster when they defeated a team with a similar style offense.

Quarterback Colby Briggs is the work horse for the Rebels who runs their offense through the passing game. Trevor Haney and Chase Robitaille are two of the team’s top wideouts while John Morgan is the top target out of the backfield.

“They throw the ball really well and run really good route concepts, especially out of the backfield,” Free said. “They remind us a lot about Evangel-Alabaster just being a team that likes to throw the ball around. They are also capable of running the football but they seem to really like throwing right now.”

PREDICTION: Edgewood 41, Lowndes  13

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.