WATCH: County, region rivals clash as Slocomb visits Geneva
GENEVA, Ala. (WTVY) - Even at just Week 2 of the high school football season, we are already seeing teams riding some pretty good highs or thinking about ways to escape some rather poor lows. Two teams on opposite ends of that spectrum are the subject of this week’s News4 Friday Night Football Game of the Week, but those feelings will also go out the window to engage in a 96-year-old county rivalry with implications in Class 4A-Region 2. It’s the Geneva Panthers hosting the Slocomb Red Tops.
Let’s take you back in the history books to the first recorded matchup in this longtime clash of county foes: September 30, 1927. Both teams began playing at about the same time, in the year 1920, the Panthers at least with the earliest recorded history from the AHSFHS for at least 5 seasons prior, while the 1927 inaugural matchup between the schools being the first recorded game for the Red Tops. In that game, Geneva would win in a 13-0 shutout of Slocomb, with the Panthers then going on to win the next two matchups in 1928 (30-6) and 1930 (20-6) before the Red Tops recorded their first win in the series in a 7-6 final.
The rivalry’s trend would either go the way of the teams swapping wins back and forth, or Geneva going on multi-season win streaks. Slocomb’s first multi-year win streak was a three game stretch from 1964 to 1967, this coming after Geneva had already recorded five streaks of the same kind in the series’ history. The Red Tops changed the trend a bit with a 6 game winning spread from 1989-1994, then after losing 10 of the 11 years after that streak they recorded another 7-game win streak from 2010 to 2016.
In total, Geneva and Slocomb have played each other 85 times, with the Panthers leading the all-time series with 52 wins, the Red Tops with 30, and 3 ties in 1943 (7-7), 1945 (0-0) and 1948 (13-13) and the rivalry only being dormant in sporadic one to two season instances outside of a 4-year gap of matchups from 2002 to 2005. The last 5 matchups for the schools saw Slocomb winning a high scoring affair in 2018, 63-56, followed by a 3 game win streak for the Panthers from 2019-2021, with Geneva winning all of those games by just 7 points, and last year the Red Tops earning their 30th win in the rivalry by a final of 18-13.
The Panthers are still out searching for their first year of the 2023 season entering this Week 2 matchup, with Geneva losing a lopsided affair to Headland 45-6 in Week 0, and despite an early 13-0 start in Week 1 dropping 34 straight points to Chipley to lose the cross-state matchup. First-year head coach Jamel Harris is hoping this week will be an opportunity for the Panthers to get back in the win column, and get a crucial W at that in region play, to lead them back to the playoffs after last year’s 4-6 record had Geneva miss the postseason for the first time in 4 seasons.
Another squad with a first-year head coach, the Paul McLean-led Red Tops enter the county clash off the heels of a 16-14 win to open the season in Week 1 over G.W. Long, which immediately spells well for a Slocomb team looking to also return to the playoffs after a one-season hiatus, missing them last season with a 5-5 record.
Game time for tonight’s matchup between the Panthers and Red Tops is set for 7 p.m., and that game will airing live on MeTV (4.2) and streaming online on WTVY.com and in this story.
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