That’s all that separates the city limits between Centre and Piedmont.
Sixteen miles are also all the separates two football state champions.
But the two teams are even closer in terms of their support for each other.
Yes, the Bulldogs and Warriors are big rivals. Have been for years. But when they’re not facing each other, the players, coaches and fans have the utmost respect for the other.
There’s one word that comes to mind in describing that type of relationship: class.
Two weeks ago, this sportswriter covered the Deshler-Cherokee County Class 4A state semifinal game. When the other playoff scores were announced at Bobby Joe Johnson Field, one was the Piedmont-Leeds game. When it was announced the Bulldogs had won 13-7, the Warrior faithful gave a rousing cheer.
Flash forward to last week’s Super 6.
When Piedmont was playing Cordova in Tuscaloosa at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Thursday in the Class 3A title game, many Warrior fans and students were scattered amongst the Piedmont crowd – some with signs of support – cheering the Bulldogs on to their 35-28 overtime victory.
The Warriors also congratulated the Bulldogs on their own state championship game sign when they played in the Class 4A title game on Friday.
The Piedmont faithful also returned the favor. Many came back to Bryant-Denny to lend their support of the Warriors against Jackson. Cherokee County claimed a 31-27 victory.
Both the Bulldogs and the Warriors are state champions on the football field for 2009.
But both teams and their supporters are also champions off of it.
Cherokee County was the only team ranked No. 1 in the final Alabama Sportswriters Association football poll to finish on top.
The Warriors also hold the distinction of being the only Alabama High School Athletic Association football team to finish the season with a 15-0 record.
Piedmont’s 35-28 overtime win against Cordova marked the first 3A championship game to go into overtime since Colbert County defeated UMS-Wright 25-19 in 1996.
Cherokee County’s 31-27 victory over Jackson was the Warriors’ closest game of the season. The Warriors entered the contest having outscored their opponents by an average of 30.8 points per game. Their smallest margin of victory prior to the Class 4A title game was a 24-12 win over Jacksonville in Week 7.
Since taking over the Piedmont football program in 2006, head coach Steve Smith has compiled a 40-12 record. Combined with his 11 seasons at Cedar Bluff, Smith has accumulated an overall record of 125-57.
Since becoming Cherokee County’s head football coach in 2001, Tripp Curry has a 77-33 mark. Including his five seasons at Springville, Curry has an overall coaching record of 126-47.