Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories analyzing the 2020 football seasons for the six Elmore County teams.
With the 2020-22 reclassification announced by the AHSAA last week, football teams around the state quickly began moving to fill up their schedules. Wetumpka put its final touches on its 2020 slate and there are several games fans will want to circle before making plans for Friday nights next fall.
Wetumpka will be participate in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic for the first time as it's annual rivalry game against Prattville moves to Cramton Bowl in Montgomery to open the 2020 season. Wetumpka also added three new non-region opponents including old cross-county rival Tallassee as the teams match up for the first time since 2003.
For the first time in program history, Wetumpka will participate in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic as its annual rivalry game with Prattville will move to Cramton Bowl for a Week 0 matchup. Wetumpka coach Tim Perry said the AHSAA reached out to him about matching up with the school’s longtime rival.
“They presented that opportunity to us and we talked about it as a coaching staff,” Perry said. “We were probably going to play Prattville anyway so I think this will be good motivation for the guys to start the season.”
The all-time series with Prattville is even at 27-27-3 after the Lions ended Wetumpka’s three-game winning streak this season.
One week later, Wetumpka will renew its rivalry against Tallassee as they will meet for the first time since 2003. The two programs played every season from 1951 to 1997 and the Tigers lead the series, 35-30-2.
“We were really just searching for more games,” Perry said. “Being here for eight years, I hear other people talking about the history of it. (Tallassee) coach (Mike) Battles and I have grown to know each other and it just worked out this year. They have a great program with great tradition.”
Perry said he wanted to find a way to cut down on travel, especially after the last two seasons, and scheduling the Tigers helped with that.
Wetumpka will get some travel relief as it avoids the three longest trips in region play, hosting Helena, Pelham and Calera in 2020. The Indians have played all three in recent years but it will be the first time they’re in the same region with Wetumpka.
Wetumpka added two more games against familiar non-region opponents. After its region opener against Helena, Wetumpka will host Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in Week 3, the first regular-season meeting between the two. Wetumpka has defeated the Patriots three times in the playoffs, including 2017 and 2018.
After two years off, Wetumpka will renew its series with Greenville as Wetumpka makes the trip in Week 5. The Indians lead the series, 10-4, including victories in 2016 and 2017.
Wetumpka will wrap up its regular season with a trip to Stanhope Elmore. The Mustangs hold a two-game winning streak in the rivalry and Wetumpka will be looking for revenge .
“It really just worked out that way by the draw,” Perry said. “It may seem like we worked that out but it just happened. (Stanhope) coach (Brian) Bradford and I kind of had a laugh about it when we saw that. It’s too far ahead of us to think about those region implications but I think it’s just going to add to the excitement of the game.”