WHITE HALL — When it comes to rivalry games, everything (including records and stats) is thrown out the window as both sides know each other better than probably any other opponent either team will face.
“Both teams know each other well,” White Hall head coach Mike Vaughn said. “We know each other’s weakness and strengths.
“It is a fun week more than anything.”
Watson Chapel (3-2, 3-0 5A-South) will host conference rival White Hall (5-1, 2-1) Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in a matchup that could ultimately decide the No. 2 seed for the 5A state playoffs in November.
“There is always some extra excitement when you play cross-town rivals,” Vaughn said. “There is some competitiveness in it and it means bragging rights for a year.”
The Bulldogs have beaten the Wildcats the past two years by a combined 19 points. Last week, Watson Chapel defeated Hope 19-17 thanks to a timely interception by Kristen Trammel with 1:45 left in the game to secure the win.
“They are always well coached and they play hard,” Vaughn said. “Their speed and aggressiveness stands out to me.
“They have a lot of speed and are aggressive on both sides of the ball.”
Vaughn compared Chapel to Camden Fairview.
“As far as speed goes, they are on the same level as Camden,” Vaughn said. “Chapel is a challenge for us every year.
“We got to tackle well and not let ourselves give up the big play. Our offensive line has to play well at the line and control our game.”
Vaughn said the keys for the game haven’t really changed from previous games, “but it is more so when we play teams like this that are this fast.”
Last week, White Hall defeated Hot Springs Lakeside after accumulating 540 yards of total offense. Vaughn said that kind of game would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the offensive line.
He hopes that kind of performance can carry over to this week.
“It is a fact of life that everything depends on the offensive line,” Vaughn said. “I hope they get better week to week.
“But this week is going to be a challenge because of Chapel’s size. We got to step it up this week and I think our kids will.”
In the win over Lakeside, quarterback Kirk Baugh passed for 267 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for 96 yards and a touchdown.
“That was probably his best game of his career,” Vaughn said. “He is just young and still learning to play with confidence.
“He isn’t going to put those kind of numbers every week but he does have the ability to do so.”
Vaughn said Baugh’s dual-threat capabilities make the junior very lucky.
“He can and run and he can throw,” Vaughn said. “Those are two good things to have. He is going to have a bright future.”
Junior Kendrick Edgerson rushed for 237 yards and two TDs in last week’s win. He also hauled in a touchdown pass from Baugh. Edgerson has scored in every game this season — except in the game against Camden Fairview when nobody from White Hall found the end zone.
“Last week, that was kind of a unique situation and we got off to a hot start,” Vaughn said of the numbers put up by White Hall’s offense. “Chapel’s defense is strong and quick and I don’t know if that is going to happen again.
“Kirk has got to have a good ball game and so does Edge.”
White Hall receiver Kaseem Smith finished with seven catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns — a school record.
Defensively, the biggest threat for White Hall is playmaker Devonte Battles, who caught a TD pass in last week’s win at Hope.
“We can’t really simulate his speed in practice, so we won’t really know if what we’ve done will work until we are in the actual situation,” Vaughn said. “I know that in the first quarter, we will have problems, but I hope that as the game goes on we can make the right adjustments.”