Big fights ahead Friday night
Marshall County and Forrest have huge district games this week with the Tigers traveling to Pulaski for another installment of its heated rivalry with Giles County, while the Rockets entertain Community for Homecoming at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill.
Both the county squads are 3-1 on the season and undefeated in district play.
Giles County is mired in a four-game losing streak with two of the losses coming by one point to Columbia and Lincoln County.
Throw out the bad record because whenever these two teams meet it's a battle.
The Tigers want revenge in a bad way as the Bobcats eliminated MCHS from the playoffs two out of the last five years, including a first-round 38-35 loss at Preston Hopkins Field.
"This week we've had a great week of practice, but needless to say, we haven't had to say much to get the kids keyed up this week," Marshall County coach Thomas Osteen said. "We know Giles County is going to play their best game of the season against us and we know we can throw the records out the window."
Osteen was pleased with the effort by his team last week against East Nashville, saying, "All wins are good wins, but I was extremely excited about the progression we took as a team last week gainst East Nashville."
If the Tigers want to win, they have to continue their fine defensive effort over the last weeks where they had a shutout against Tullahoma and gave up just eight points in teh final quarter to East Nashville.
"Our defense put together their second consecutive great performance," Osteen said. "We gang tackled well and played assignment football."
Osteen praised defensive lineman Tristan Maxwell and linebacker Tanner Clark, who both had outstanding games against the Eagles.
The pair will have to step up again this week versus the Bobcats and stellar running back Jordan Tucker, who has gained 586 yards on 84 carries and scored four touchdowns this year.
"Giles has the best running back in our region. He's a senior that can run over you and past you," Osteen said. "We must gang tackle him all night."
The Tigers are rolling on offense, putting up 812 yards on the ground with Josh Franklin leading the way with 342 yards and five touchdowns.
"I wish we could've put one more score on the board in the fourth quarter to end the game, but overall it was in my opinion our best offensive execution of the season," Osteen said of the 24-8 win.
Complementing the solid rushing game is a lethal passing attack led by senior quarterback Ashton Posey, who's put up some impressive numbers through the first four games.
Posey has passed for 885 yards, completing 60-of-85 throws with nine touchdowns -- five going to Tre Crutcher and three to Jay Howard.
"On offense, we have to control the ball and ride the wave of emotion that their kids will be playing with early," Osteen said.
First prediction of the year, Tigers 40, Giles County 14.
For Forrest, the biggest two threats are the Homecoming blues and Community's all-purpose threat Darian Pride.
Last week's 14-12 loss is just a memory and a learning tool as far as Forrest coach Matt Kriesky and his squad are concerned.
"The mood has been great. We watched the film with the kids on Sunday and corrected our mistakes from the game," Kriesky said. "Our focus has been on Community this week and also making sure we get better as a team."
Focus a must
Homecoming can be a big distraction with weeklong activities, including the parade on Friday and Kriesky is well aware it could hurt his football team if the focus is not there.
"Hopefully, our guys are mature enough to be able to participate in the activities and also prepare themselves for the game," the coach said. "We'll see Friday night if we were able to handle the distractions or not."
Turnovers hurt the Rockets last week against Page, especially in the fourth quarter when Forrest fumbled when it looked like it would drive in for the winning touchdown.
"We've always put a lot of attention on holding onto the football," Kriesky said. "We'll continue to work on it and hopefully we'll see an improvement as the season goes on."
The Vikings rely heavily on Pride, who can play quarterback, running back or line up on the outside as a triple threat.
"Community is 2-1 and they have the best player in the region, I believe, in Darian Pride," Kriesky said. "He's a very athletic young man who will line up in a lot of different positions on offense. They run the spread offense and have been able to move the ball well in there first three games."
Community scored 83 points in its first two games of the season in a pair of wins before the air went out of the balloon in a 35-0 shutout loss to Westmoreland last week.
Kriesky isn't overlooking the Vikings one bit, saying, "We'll continue to take it one game at a time and improve from our mistakes each week. Hopefully, you'll see a team in Week 9 or 10 clicking on all cylinders because they have improved each week."