Moore County travels to Huntland this week for what is always an exciting rivalry. It’s one that goes back as far as football itself here. Connected by a paper thin link from the past — like former Tennessee great Johnny Majors — and a rock-solid link in the present — they’re longtime District 9-A foes — the two teams will square off at 7 p.m. Friday for small town bragging rights.
For Moore County, however, bragging rights are only half the spoils. The Raiders (4-3 overall, 2-1 District 9-A) need a win, as do the Hornets (2-4, 0-2). But while the Hornets are simply trying to get back on track, Moore County is battling for its playoff life.
“We told our kids that we felt like the next four weeks were four playoff games,” said Moore County head coach Scott Smith following his team’s win over Middle Tennessee Christian School. “The intensity needed for these four games is the same as a playoff game. This was a very important game; now we move on to Huntland.”
Indeed, but moving on to Huntland is never easy.
And this year, Huntland offers a unique challenge. The Hornets are a big rival, but they’re sporting a losing record. If anything, the Raiders hopefully learned against Wayne County back in Week 3 — and perhaps even last week against MTCS — that records can be misleading.
Still, despite being shut out twice and struggling to consistently move the football on offense, Moore County sits in a perfect position. While the Raiders are trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since the first two games of the season, they actually control much of their own fate.
MCHS is currently tied for second in the 9-A standings with Forrest, although the Rockets own the tiebreaker by virtue of their 23-0 win earlier in the season. Eagleville, which is Moore County’s final regular-season opponent, sits atop the standings with a 3-0 district mark.
Meanwhile, Moore County needs to get by Huntland this week and Community next week before thinking about the Eagles in Week 9.
“This is our season,” said Smith. “I think our players know that every game, we feel like it’s make or break. We’re playing for a playoff spot, playing for seeding. If we lose, we cut down on our chances.”
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, MCN Editor/Publisher