Tuscaloosa County, Central renew football rivalry
One of Tuscaloosa’s biggest rivalries is officially making a return. Central High School football and Tuscaloosa County football officially faced off on Friday night to kickoff the 2022 season. It is the first time the Falcons and Wildcats have played since 2013.
There was once a time when this rivalry carried such importance that it had to be played in Bryant-Denny Stadium. But following a nine-year hiatus, the hype is not expected to be at the level it once was.
Tuscaloosa County Head Football Coach Adam Winegarden believes bringing back the Central-Tuscaloosa County rivalry is just what both fan bases deserve.
“I think one thing that is unique is that (Tuscaloosa) County High School and Central Tuscaloosa have the two biggest alumni bases in the city,” Winegarden said. “So renewing that, and bringing that back, and bringing back a lot of old feelings from a lot of people that participated in it for years. I think it’s a great thing for our town.”
Central Head Football Coach Rodney Bivens Jr. knows first-hand how much this rivalry means.. Bivens is a former player at Central High School as well as the Falcons offensive coordinator in 2013, the last time Central played Tuscaloosa County.
But Bivens believes this game carries something more important than ‘bragging rights’. Central is moving up to Class 6A in 2022, after spending the past ___ seasons at the Class 5A level of competition. Bivens believes opening the season against Tuscaloosa County, which competes in Class 7A, will help his team prepare for the new level of competition.
“We always talked about if you want to be the best, you gotta play the best,” Bivens said. “Ultimately, iron sharpens iron. So, I think it’s a lot of benefits to it, as far as playing great competition.”