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Thomas Jefferson, TAE now playoff rivals

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

LOUISVILLE -- The day after Thanksgiving is better known as Black Friday.

In GISA Class A football it should be known as Blue and Gray Friday.

Right on cue with stampedes at Wal-Mart and leftover turkey sandwiches for lunch, this Friday the Terrell Academy Jaguars will make a fifth consecutive trip to the Class A state championship game.

Coach Chuck Wimberly has built the perennial power in the state while going 57-8 and capturing two state titles.

If any one team could challenge the Jaguars (10-2) for the title of class of Class A, it would be Friday's opponent, Terrell Academy (10-2). The Eagles have at least been to the state semifinals each of the past four seasons, including a state title last year.

But nobody in Dawson is surprised to see TJA on its postseason slate. This will mark the fourth consecutive season they face the Jaguars in the playoffs.

Thomas Jefferson eliminated Terrell in the semifinals in both 2006 and 2007 before the Eagles finally broke through with a crushing 61-26 victory in last year's state championship game in Louisville.

Between the two programs, they own eight state championships (four apiece) in the last 15 years.

So, for the Jags and Eagles to reconvene on Friday, well, it's only fitting.

They did not face each other during the regular season but share many common opponents. Thomas Jefferson beat Terrell's GISA Region 3-A rivals Westwood School (28-24) and Fullington Academy (30-24) on the way to the title game.

Terrell Academy beat Westwood, meanwhile, 21-19, and Fullington, 35-8.

The only reason Thomas Jefferson survived the opening- round game against Westwood was a 60-yard touchdown pass with three minutes remaining that recaptured the lead.

Both teams opened the season 1-2 before reeling off 10 consecutive victories.

A win for the Eagles would provide the first back-to-back state championships since a three-peat from 1994-96.