Rivalry vote down to the wire

Published 1:00am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Debra Mullis has been tapping away at her computer for days, voting as many times as she can for the Battle of Murder Creek to be named the best rivalry in the South — and a chance to be the best high school rivalry in the country.
Across that very Murder Creek, W.S. Neal fans are doing the same thing.
What could inspire such cooperation between the rivals?
The annual game between W.S. Neal and T.R. Miller is in the running for bragging rights in a national USA Today contest — one that will award $10,000 to be split between the winning schools. The Battle of Murder Creek already won the state round and is competing in the southern region. Voting in the regional round ends at 10 a.m. today; four winners will then compete nationwide for the overall title.
“I think it would be great for both schools,” Mullis said. “It is great seeing the two schools and their fans come together for this one purpose. I think the money will go a long way to helping our athletic programs. I just think it is wonderful and I am excited about it. I am constantly checking to see if we are winning.”
Patty Frazier, principal at W.S. Neal High School, has been voting herself and telling the students to do the same.
“We are encouraging our students and their families to be involved in the voting every time they think about it,” Frazier said. “Our students have really bought into this and are working hard to vote as much as possible. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the excitement of the students with this rivalry voting.”
Frazier said the voting is something that both schools — and both communities — seem to be taking very seriously.
“It’s really nice to see both schools working on the voting,” Frazier said. “We’ve been in contact with some people from T.R. Miller and we’ve been working together on the voting. Both schools will benefit from this if we win. It would be great publicity for the schools and of course, the money would be nice, too.”
Although voting ends today, Frazier said she hopes people will vote right up until the end and push the rivalry beyond a regional championship.
“We hope that everyone is voting,” Frazier said. “Typically, the Battle of Murder Creek kind of separates us for a while, but this time it is bringing the two schools together for a common purpose. We’ve had a great a year and we really hope we can make it passed round two.”
With a combined population of just under 10,000, Brewton and East Brewton are competing in this round against one of the nation’s best known rivalries — Trinity and St. Xavier in Louisville, Ky.
That rivalry routinely draws more than 35,000 fans to see the two schools play — and was once named the greatest prep rivalry in the country by the Sporting News.
The Battle of Murder Creek is one of 13 rivalries in this contest and is up against schools from Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky and Virginia.
In Alabama, the Battle of Murder Creek between Neal and Miller defeated the McGill-Toolen and Murphy rivalry in Mobile and Hoover-Vestavia Hills rivalry in Birmingham.
To vote in the contest, click http://contest.usatodayhss.com/vote/south.
The Battle of Murder Creek rivalry is option “L.”
Voting for the best national rivalry among the four regional winners will begin at 11 a.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 13, and will end at 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 19.
The nation’s best high school rivalry will be crowned. Vote as many times as you want.
In addition to the prize money, USA Today Sports will report live on that rivalry game in 2013, and will present the schools with a trophy that will be kept each year by the winning team.
W.S. Neal defeated T.R. Miller 34-26 this past season for the first win since 2007.
The win clinched a playoff berth for the Eagles.
W.S. Neal finished the season 9-3 this year and lost in the second round of the state playoffs while T.R. Miller finished with a 10-2 record and also lost in the second round of the state playoffs.
The two schools have met a total of 70 times with 67 coming in the regular season and three in the playoffs.
T.R. Miller leads the series 49-21 overall with a 46-21 lead in the regular season and a 3-0 record against the Eagles in the playoffs.

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