Elba Tigers to face rugged schedule

Ricky Mularz
Sports Editor

Thursday, Aug 03,2017

The Elba Tigers have boasted one of the state’s winningest high school football programs for almost a century and have averaged over 11 wins per season over the past four years. While the Tiger and their fans will expect more of the same when the 2017 season kicks off in just three weeks, a look at the schedule reveals what may be one of the toughest schedules in the 94-year history of the program!
The 10-game regular season schedule will include seven teams that advanced to the state playoffs a year ago, two teams that claimed region titles in Class 3A and another 3A team that was the runner up in its region, and also includes four of the season’s first five games on the road, all against 2016 playoff participants.

Sept. 1, at Pike County
While Elba will compete in a preseason jamboree at G.W. Long, the Tigers first regular season game will kick off on Friday, Sept. 1, when they travel to Brundidge to battle the Pike County Bulldogs. The Bulldogs posted a 9-3 record last season in rolling to a region title, but lost to the Tigers 36-22, a loss snapped an eight-game Pike County winning streak over Elba dating back to 1990. These two rivals first met back in 1923 with the Tigers winning 16 of the first 17 meetings, and Elba leads the all-time series 22-14-0.

Sept. 8, at New Brockton
The Elba Tigers will stay on the road in week #2 for a region clash against the New Brockton Gamecocks. The Gamecocks posted a 7-5 record last season and were the region runners up behind Elba. The Tigers own a impressive 12-1 series record against their neighbors from across the county, won last season 28-14 for their eighth straight win in the series, and have battled New Brockton every season since 2004.

Sept. 15, vs. Samson
The Elba Tigers will make their home debut in week #3 when they host the Samson Tigers, in non-region action. Samson posted a 7-5 record last season, was the runner up in its region, and advanced to the second round of the 2A playoffs. Elba leads the all-time series 28-8-2, a series that first kicked off back in 1923, with the Tigers from Coffee County winning nine of the first ten meetings. Last season, Elba claimed two wins over the Tigers from Geneva County as they posted a 64-20 win in the regular season and then ousted Samson from the playoffs with a 48-20 victory. Elba now claims 10 straight wins over their foes from across the county line.

Sept. 22, at Goshen
The Elba Tigers will hit the road again in the fourth week of the season and will also make a return to the region wars when they travel to Goshen to battle the Goshen Eagles. Goshen posted an 8-4 record last season and advanced to the playoffs for the ninth straight season. The Tigers own a 7-0 all-time series record against the Eagles, including a 30-9 win last season, and have tangled with their region rivals every season since 2010.

Sept. 29, at Daleville
The Elba Tigers will conclude their early-season travels in week #5 when they head over to Dale County to meet the 3A Daleville Warhawks. The Warhawks posted an 8-3 record last season, including a 27-22 win over the Tigers, and advanced to the playoffs as the region runner up. The loss snapped Elba’s three-game winning streak over the Warhawks, but the Tigers still hold a 13-5 all-time series edge in a series that kicked off in 1978, and saw Elba win the first eight meetings.

Oct. 6, vs. Central,
The Elba Tigers will head back home in week #6 and return to region play when they host the Central, of Hayneville, Lions. The Lions struggled to a 1-9 record a year ago and have won a total of only five games over the last nine years, but do own a win over the Tigers back in 2003. Elba leads the all-time series 6-1, defeated Central 54-14 a year ago, and over the past five years has outscored the Lions 275-32.

Oct. 13, vs. Calhoun
The Elba Tigers will stay at home in week #7 of the regular season when they host the Calhoun Tigers. Calhoun struggled to an 0-10 record last season, has posted only one win in the last three years, and is mired in a 21-game losing streak. Elba has scored over 70 points against the Tigers from Lowndes County the last two seasons, including a 74-20 win a year ago.

Oct. 20, at Luverne
The Elba Tigers will get back on the buses in week #8 when they head across the Crenshaw County line to tangle with the Luverne Tigers. Luverne posted a 7-4 record last season and advanced to the playoffs for a record 34th straight year. Elba owns a 43-29-1 advantage in the series that began back in 1923 with a 6-6 tie, won 50-15 last season and has won three straight games since suffering through a five-game losing streak.

Oct. 27, vs. Zion Chapel
The Elba Tigers will wrap up region play days before Halloween when they host the Zion Chapel Rebels. The Rebels posted a 3-7 record last season and have posted only one winning season over the last 11 years, but have a new coach and a new excitement. The Tigers own a perfect 9-0 series edge in the football series that first kicked off back in 2008, outscored the Rebels 48-21 last season, and have scored 40 points or more in six straight meetings.

Nov. 3, vs. Opp
The Elba Tigers will conclude their regular season on the first Friday in November when they host the Opp Bobcats. The 3A Bobcats won their region title a year ago, posted a 9-2 record and lead the all-time series that began back in 1923 with a 45-36 mark. The Tigers lost to Opp 43-24 last season, their second straight to their longtime rivals, and have now lost four of the last five meetings.

Photo: Ed Rigby set for fifth season at helm of Elba Tigers