The Turkey Day Classic between Alabama State and rival Tuskegee has been one of the more intense rivalries in all of black college football. But not as intense as postseason play with a national championship on the line, according to Tuskegee quarterback Kevin Lacey.
Although the quarterback has never played in the game, he told the Montgomery Advertiser that the Division II playoffs gets his competitive juices flowing more than an in-state rivalry game.
“Just being a part of these playoffs, it’s just a different atmosphere,” Lacey said before Tuskegee’s 35-6 loss to the University of West Georgia in the Division II quarterfinals. “The intensity is a lot higher because even with playing in the Turkey Day Classic? It was exciting because it was the biggest rivalry around here. It’s HBCU’s Alabama-Auburn, but for us, just playing in that game, it meant a lot, but you knew it was your last game. So you laid it on the line because of that, but in the playoffs, you lay it on the line because any week could be your last week.”
Lacey, of Wetumpka, Alabama, admits that his only immediate connection to the Turkey Day Classic has been as a fan, the weekly experience of playing for a championship can’t be matched.
“If you win, you keep going until you finally get to that national championship game,” Lacey said. “That’s what you’re fighting for.”