That’s exactly where the Bears want to be heading into tonight’s Class 1A state quarterfinal matchup with the R.A. Hubbard Chiefs. The game will kickoff at 7 p.m. from Lynn’s Posey Field.
“Hubbard’s got all that tradition. They are probably the favorite out of the North,” Lynn coach Philip Smith said. “This is a chance for us to make a statement. That’s what we’ve been talking about. We’re looking forward to it.”
R.A. Hubbard was formed when Class 1A powers Hazlewood and Courtland combined schools.
The school has played in eight state championship games, winning five state championships. The Chiefs have missed the playoffs just one time since 1982 and have advanced to the state semifinals 14 times during that stretch.
Lynn is in the state quarterfinals for the fifth time and the first time since 2000. Hazlewood ended the Bears’ run that season.
Both teams bring 11-1 records into the contest.
Lynn’s only setback came via a 36-29 loss to Marion County in Week 8.
Hubbard dropped a Week 5 decision to Class 4A power North Jackson, 62-15.
“I feel like we can play with anybody,” Smith said. “Hubbard just has so many athletes. Their line is athletic and they’ve got a lot of great skill players. We can’t get into a track meet with them, that’s for sure. We’ve got to control the ball and limit big plays. We want to keep it close in the second half and have a chance to win in the end.”
Smith said his team won’t be intimidated, no matter the competition.
“One thing I can say about our guys is that they really believe they can beat anybody. No matter who we are playing, we aren’t going to be afraid of anybody. We aren’t intimidated. This is the kind of team we want to play. We’ve talked about the respect factor all year long and we feel this is our chance to get some respect,” Smith said.
Lynn is coming off a defensive masterpiece in a 21-7 road win over Ragland. The Bears held a 21-0 lead until the final seconds. For the game, Ragland gained just 106 yards.
Defensive end Cameron Legg recorded 15 tackles and three sacks in the game. Linebacker Bryan Clark added 10 tackles.
The defense has stepped up. We’re having a little fun out there. We’ve flying after the ball. Ragland had put a lot of points on the scoreboard and we shut them out until the last play. We are going to need another big effort out of the defense this week.”
Lynn is led by the duo of running back Casey Hulsey and quarterback Brody Meeks. Hulsey has rushed for 1,630 yards and 20 touchdowns on 182 carries. Meeks has rushed for 1,064 and 15 touchdowns and thrown for another 1,412 yards and 10 scores.
Defensively, Clark has a team-high 120 tackles.
Both Hubbard and Lynn played Shoals Christian (Lynn won 57-30; Hubbard won 26-20 in the regular season and 35-14 in the playoffs) and Addison (Lynn won 16-15; Hubbard won 12-6).
Today’s winner will face the Parrish-Addison winner in the state semifinals next week. If Lynn wins today, the Bears will host next Friday.