‘Really big game’: Two rivals, only one region champion

Published: Nov. 3, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Sometimes, two schools are destined to go head-to-head and continue their rivalry year in and year out.

Harlem and Morgan County are set to battle for the region title once again. We caught up with Harlem to dive deeper into the rivalry these two schools have built over the years.

Last year, Harlem traveled to Morgan County and beat them for a region title.

Tonight, Morgan County comes here with the title on the line.

“Tonight is a really big game,” said Mark Boiter, Harlem’s Head Coach.

With historic implications for Harlem, Morgan County stands in their way.

“They’re gonna be looking for some revenge after we beat them last year at their place for the region championship, so it’s gonna be a great atmosphere. But definitely a tough test for us,” he said.

The Bulldogs 2022 region championship is almost 50 years in the making and was even more special for Boiter.

“Well, it was an incredible feeling. You know, I played here, and it’s the only place I’ve ever coached. I’ve been a part of this school, this program for over 20 years as a player and as a coach,” he said.

Back-to-back titles would be the first time for the Bulldogs.

“The chance to do it again. Just trying to tell our guys to make the most of these opportunities. Because there were a lot of teams between 1974 and 2022 that did not have that opportunity. When they present themselves, we really want guys to take advantage of ‘em,” he said.

Both teams are undefeated in region play.

Boiter says Morgan County is well prepared and has won tough games to get here. He knows tonight will be a battle.

“Play within yourself. We just need guys to execute, to be locked in and focused to play with passion, but not be too emotional,” he said.

Even though 20 seniors graduated from last year’s region championship, Boiter knows this team is right where they should be.

“They’ve earned the right to play in this game for a championship, and they deserve it. But it’s not going to be given to them. They’ve got to take it, so that’s the message to the guys,” he said.