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Cousins face off in Class AAA title game

Buford's Montgomery VanGorder

Buford's Montgomery VanGorder

If the mothers have their way, there will be a postgame picture.

But certainly, one won't be in the mood.

Either Buford's quarterback Montgomery VanGorder or St. Pius X's defensive end Quincy Nieporte will walk off the field after Friday's Class AAA state championship game a runner-up to his cousin.

But until that moment, the two families, linked by the players' mothers, are having fun with this week's competing agendas.

"It's so exciting, I have a huge family feud going on here," said Penny Nieporte, Quincy's mother and Pollie VanGorder's sister.

It's a feud Pollie VanGorder predicted over Thanksgiving dinner, three weeks before the matchup was set.

"I watch a lot of football," Pollie VanGorder said of her prediction.

For their part, the two players, cousins and friends, are managing the fun with preparation. They spoke Monda, for "about five minutes," according to Montgomery VanGorder and discussed the pending chance of controlled violence between the two relatives. After all, one of Quincy VanGorder's jobs today will be to forcefully take down his cousin.

"I told him I am going to talk trash to him a bunch. He said he won't listen, but I'll get in his head," Quincy Nieporte said. "It's awesome. I can't even wait, I wish we could play tonight. I told him to watch out, because I'm coming."

Montgomery VanGorder and Quincy Nieporte spend a few weekends a month together watching football and hanging out. Six weeks apart in age, the cousins are the closest of family in a troop of nearly 30 cousins on their mothers' side. They spend holidays together, share a love of sports, but today those paths diverge.

Penny Nieporte stayed with her sister earlier this week and asked to borrow a cooler shirt with the heat on in the VanGorder house. Pollie offered her a Buford shirt.

"I said, 'Pollie, I'm not wearing a Buford T-shirt,' Penny Nieporte said. "Not this week."

The families plan to eat before tonight's 5:30 kickoff, but they aren't sitting near each other during the game.

"That's probably for the best," Montgomery VanGorder said.

After the game, both sisters want a family photo on the Georgia Dome's field. Both sons agreed early this week.

"We'll see what happens after the game," Montgomery VanGorder said.

This is the second time the two families have found themselves on opposite sidelines. St. Pius played North Hall in Quincy Nieporte's freshman year against Mack Montgomery. It wasn't the state championship, so getting the postgame photo op went smoothly.

But this is a bigger stage. A rarity for St. Pius and a new, higher level for Buford. State championships are always intense, but the cousins' showdown only deepens it for these two families.

"I never thought at the beginning of the season that it would all come down to this," Montgomery VanGorder said.