High stakes for 2013 Battle of Buckhead

Westminster vs. Lovett has established itself as one of the states most exciting rivalries. The schools are separated by less than three miles, and when you combine the familiarity of the schools to their academics and overall athletics, the rivalry runs much deeper than football.

On the gridiron, however, the combination of fan support and stiff competition in region 6-AA adds importance to this rivalry matchup, and creates one of the most spirited games of the season.

Westminster has never lost the GADA Directors Cup in its existence and finished last year with a school record in points. The Wildcats won state titles in boys and girls tennis, soccer, lacrosse, track, and in boys cross country, golf, and girls swimming. Lovett would take state titles in baseball and volleyball and finish second in the standings.

No high school rivalry in Georgia would be complete without Friday Nights, and the Wildcats’ domination in athletics, was faded by Lovett’s sweep of Region 6-AA in 2012 and 10-7 win at Westminister (click link for game highlights). Lovett head coach Mike Muschamp led the Lions to the quarterfinals before losing to Lamar County 35-28 last year, and this team appears poised for another strong year. In the two years prior to last year’s low scoring duel, Westminster won 21-2 (2011), and 37-14 (2010). It is clear that this rivalry will be full throttle in 2013.

The Wildcats have a chance to be much improved this season, and head coach Gerry Romberg comes off a 5-7 season that ended in the second round to eventual state champion Jefferson 35-7.

“We’ve got our quarterback Jake Forte returning for us this year,” said Romberg. “He is a good player for us and we have some talent up front with guys like Sam Schmal.”

Avenging last year’s home loss to Lovett will have to wait this year for Romberg and his returning cast, because the schools do not play until the second to last game of the season.

“It’s a big game for sure, but I look at it as a big game more so because it is a region game,” said Romberg. “I think that both of these schools are so solid in athletics and academics and then these students all know each other. That in itself makes it fun, but the region implications are what makes this game so important.”

Westminster opens up with games against Blessed Trinity, St. Pius X, Laney, Thomasville and Woodward Academy before region play. Lovett will face a potentially more challenging non-region slate with Woodward Academy, Blessed Trinity, Marist, St. Pius X, Fort Payne, Ala., and Washington County. When the Lions and Wildcats square off on Nov.1 both squads will be battle tested. The remaining region consist of Greater Atlanta Christian, Wesleyan and Hapeville Charter, setting it up once again to be one of the most competitive regions in the state. Westminster last won the state title in 1971, and will have to focus on the region and its next door neighbors before attempting another playoff run.



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