Vernon prepares for budding rivalry at Baker in region final
Friday night, three high school football region finals are of area interest, with one of the being Vernon's trip west to Baker.
Coach Gerald Tranquille's Yellowjackets (8-3) are coming off a 43-18 round two win over Northview, during which K'wan Powell accounted for four touchdowns and more than 170 yards.
The Gators enter at 10-1 off a 35-21 win against Graceville, their only loss coming in the regular season finale against Blountstown in the SSAC North Florida Championship.
The Vernon-Baker matchup is becoming a schedule fixture and a budding rivalry. Baker has been a thorn in the side of VHS. having won three times in the last two seasons and victorious in every meeting since Vernon's home playoff triumph in 2014.
"It's actually starting to become a rivalry game," Tranquille said during practice Wednesday. "Just going over to that place, they have a great atmosphere, a great tradition. I don't think they've lost there since '13 '14, so we know the challenge ahead of us. They're still a great, well coached team, very physical in the trenches. We know we've got to go over there and play a full four quarters. It's gonna be tough, physical ballgame."
Part of stopping the Gators is slowing a potent ground game, but there's reason to believe Vernon can handle that.
"Yeah definitely, you know what you're gonna get," Tranquille added. "You've got to stop the power, and we feel like we have a leg up because we've faced so many Wing-T teams that run the power this year. We played Graceville. We played Blountstown. We played Port St. Joe. They all run the same offense as Baker. So we've seen it, we just got to go get lined up, go toe to toe and try to stop them."
Kickoff at Baker is set for 7:30. We'll have the highlights in our late news Friday night.