Thursday’s 27-21 overtime win over Tallassee is one the Reeltown program will remember for years to come, but the Rebels aren’t letting the win distract them from having success in Week 1.
Now it’s a whole new week and back to the grindstone for the Rebels as they face St. James on Friday.
For the Rebels, it’s all about not riding too high or too low with each victory or defeat. Coach Matt Johnson said he doesn’t want the Rebel players thinking they are untouchable after one week.
“We gotta get back to work,” Johnson said. “We can’t let last week’s win carry us into this week. We’re approaching each week with the mentality to go 1-0.”
The Rebels’ comeback against the Tigers was one for the books, as they never gave up even after losing two of their key players to cramps in Johnny Brown and LJ Hill. Although the team played great as a whole, Johnson said there is always room for improvements, especially coming out of the first game.
“We’ve got to improve defensively,” Johnson said. “We didn’t align right a couple times and it cost us a touchdown early.”
The Rebel victory also saw the emergence of new starting quarterback Gabe Bryant. Bryant was cool, calm and collected from the first snap to the last and never panicked, even with his best talent not surrounding him. Bryant had only one incompletion even with multiple balls traveling 40 or more yards.
“I feel like he did really well,” Johnson said. “We did our best to keep him comfortable early on, and as he continues to grow we will continue to do more things with him.”
The Rebels (1-0) can’t afford to line up wrong when St. James (0-1) comes to town on Friday. According to Johnson, St. James has been a powerhouse program in years past, and although it may not be quite at the level it once was, the Trojans are still a formidable opponent and not someone Reeltown can sleep on.
“I’ve known coach (Jimmy) Perry a long time,” Johnson said. “His team will be well coached and prepared. Their special teams are very good in every facet so we have to be disciplined and not beat ourselves.”
The Trojans are coming off a loss to their cross-town rival Montgomery Academy, 24-0. In that game the Trojans were held scoreless and were not able to move the ball much, getting in their own way more so than Montgomery Academy giving them the business. Johnson and the Rebels will try their best to not fall into the trap of self-inflicted penalties and turnovers.
“They are coming off a loss and have a bad taste in their mouth,” Johnson said. “They’re a young team but that program has a lot of wins.”
Friday will be the first home game of the season at Nix-Webster Stadium and Johnson hopes the fan base continues to show up and show out like it did at Tallassee.
“Our fans are incredible,” Johnson said. “That atmosphere was something else and I’m glad I was a part of it. The Reeltown fans are unbelievable.”
Although Johnson wants everyone who’s able to come, he said he also wants fans to do their part in keeping each other safe so football can continue.