Old Stallions never die. They move to Macon, instead.
Three former Augusta Stallions are playing for the Knights. Another is an assistant coach, and yet another is in the radio booth.
"It's kind of like Augusta from coaches to players to even radio guys," Stallions lineman Blaine Mensch said.
Fullback/linebacker Eddie Diaz and wide receiver/linebacker Marcus Whitehead will be in the lineup when the Knights play the Stallions at 7 p.m. Saturday. Macon offensive coordinator Chris Siegfried - who played wide receiver/defensive back for the Stallions last season - will be roaming the sidelines while former play-by-play broadcaster Emerson Phillips will be calling the action for Macon. Former wide receiver/defensive back Calvin Ceasar is on Macon's injured reserve squad.
Augusta took the first matchup between the teams with a 64-60 come-from-behind win on the road. Macon jumped in front 20-0 and led by three in the final minute. But Jermaine Alfred connected with Tim Dumas on a 26-yard touchdown strike with 26 seconds left in the game.
"It's become a heated rivalry," Mensch said. "We've only played them once and they beat us pretty bad in the first half and we beat them up in the second half. They're going to be just as hungry as we are."
Both teams are tied at 9-5, along with Tallahassee, atop the Southeast Division standings. Hundreds of Macon fans are expected to attend Saturday's game at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center to see whether the Knights can clinch one of the two remaining playoff spots and put Augusta's postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.
"It's got all the makings of a good rivalry," Alfred said. "They're right up the road. The winner goes to the playoffs. There's a lot riding on this game."
If Augusta wins, it will notch its second playoff appearance in two seasons. However, if the Stallions lose, they will be fighting Tallahassee for the No. 8 playoff seed. Despite being division opponents, Augusta and Tallahassee have not - and will not - play each other this season.
"We were trying to figure out what the deal was with that," said Dumas, an offensive specialist. "(Augusta) played them last year. They're in our division. And it would actually make the playoff picture a little more clearer if we did play them. But we're just worried about Macon right now and not worried about what Tallahassee does, because we control our own destiny."
PROMOTIONS: The Stallions will be holding Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday. Starting at 5 p.m., the team will have a tailgate party in front of the civic center. During the game, the Stallions will be giving away a spa and a recliner, along with a chance to win a car and a truck.
The team will have a silent auction at the game for a limited number of Stallions jerseys from the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Tickets for the 2002 season are on sale now. Call (706) 738-9539 for more information.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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