The last time the two teams, just eight miles apart, played each other, 2005. The last time the Blue Devils (4-5, 3-4 Region 5-AA) were coming off a home loss against rival Bowdon, 2005. Before last year's playoff appearance the last time the Tigers (1-7, 1-5) went to the postseason, 2005.
Both the Temple and Bremen high school football teams had banner years in 2011, but it has been a different story during the 2012 campaign. The Blue Devils reached the quarterfinals of the Class A state playoffs last year while the Tigers made it to the postseason for the first time in five years.
With some youth, inexperience and smaller numbers Temple coach Seth Rogers hasn't quite been able to repeat the magic from last year. Those problems were exemplified in last week's loss to Heard County.
"We've got to play better than what we played last week. We did nothing particularly well in any phase of the game which was really disappointing as hard as we played Bowdon in the first half. We just didn't play well last week," Rogers said.
There is a chance that for the first time since 1997 the Blue Devils won't be playing an 11th game. The team's streak of 14 straight postseason appearances is on the line and not entirely in Bremen's control.
But no matter what anyone who has played a game against a team coached by Ricky Tolleson knows that doesn't mean the Blue Devils won't show up to play in their regular season finale Friday night.
"There's still a possibility we can make the playoffs. That's what I told the kids [Monday], we're not completely out of the picture. Mathematically we're still in it, somethings will have to happen, but the only thing we can make sure of is that we go out and play well and get a victory," Tolleson said.
For the Blue Devils to make the playoffs they need a win and then they need Spencer to beat Kendrick in the last week of the regular season next week creating a three-way tie for the fourth place spot.
All Bremen will be able to do on Nov. 9 is sit and watch as they have an open week in the season's last scheduled games. While in the past having a week between the regular season and the playoffs would have been a plus to get extra time to prepare, with the possibility of not playing again this year it didn't work out as well.
"We've been in that situation for a long time, this year we just came up a little short. It surely wasn't from a lack of effort from our players. I've been pleased with their effort and ability to bounce back," Tolleson said. "Coming into this year and this classification and the out of region games we played. I told our players [Monday] that I am proud of them. I think we'll continue to improve. This is a big game for the work we put in."
One benefit for the Tigers is that they will get to play at home for the first time in a month. Since then Temple has had their open week and played on the road three times.
Now, for the first time since they both competed in Region 6-A together Temple and Bremen will play each other again, and it's a game Rogers would like to make more competitive.
"I hate to call it a rivalry, you can't have a rivalry until you win some of those games. I think we're 2-10 lifetime against Bremen. For it to be a rivalry you've got to win a game. Our kids know what's on the line. We're nine miles apart and I think it's good this game has been picked back up," Rogers said. "These kids don't know the Bremen and Temple games like they did in the past because we haven't played at the varsity level. It will be a chance for us to renew that."
Tolleson, who has played rival Bowdon every year and some recent games against Central knows the importance of playing games against local opponents.
"We haven't played Temple since , it's been a good while since we played. It's great to renew that rivalry. I think it's a very important game for our seniors to go out of the regular season out on a winning note. I know they want to do that and they're going to prepare very hard this week," Tolleson said.
While there won't be a return to the playoffs this year for the Tigers, the focus is finishing strong and regrouping to compete for a top region spot next season.
"You always want to win. Last year we lost the last game we played. It would be nice to get on some kind of win streak. Not only for our seniors who have invested a lot in our program, but for these young guys rolling into next year. That's all you can hope for," Rogers said.
Tolleson has found out first-hand what Rogers has known for a few years, Region 5-AA is no cake walk. Lining up against some athletic and physical teams each Friday night can take its toll.
"It's a great region, good football every week and whoever makes it to those final four playoff spots I think will do well. I think it was kind of eye opening for those guys, but we knew what it was. We just have to work hard and get back in the race next year," Rogers said.
And at this point of the season the Blue Devils might get Temple's best effort.
"Temple has had their struggles, but they're probably playing better right now than they have. They've got some very, very good athletes and they're young too," Tolleson said.