By John Thornton:
West TN Game of the Week- Semi-Finals : Lexington at Haywood
Thanksgiving is a special time in America. A time to remember and be thankful for Americans who laid the framework for this country. A time to be thankful for all of our friends and family. In Tennessee high school football, it is also a time to be thankful to still be alive in the TSSAA playoffs if your team has made it this far. The reality is most teams in the state will be at home on Thanksgiving with their families, while a handful will find themselves practicing one last time in preparation for a Semi-Final game, and a possible trip to the State Championship Game.
In West Tennessee, two teams in Class 4A will vie for a chance at history for both programs as Lexington travels to Brownsville to meet Haywood.
The Lexington Tigers enter Friday’s contest after a heart-stopping 21-20 overtime win over Hardin County last week. The win made history for Coach Bryant Hollingsworth’s club, as Lexington had not been to the Semi-Finals since 2010. Now there is a real chance for the Tigers to bring home a gold ball for the first time in program history. In 2010, Trezevant prevented Lexington from making their first-ever State Title Game appearance. This time it is a very good Haywood team. To make the trip to Cookeville, Lexington will need to be at their very best.
For Coach Chris Smith and Haywood, the journey in 2020 has been about as strange as you could imagine. The Tomcats have 4 different wins this year due to COVID-19 cancellations. Despite not being on the field as much as most teams in Tennessee, Haywood has continued their recent success posting a 7-3 regular-season record. After their 1st round-bye, the Tomcats dispatched a talented Dyersburg team 42-14, before eliminating Ripley 17-3 last week. Unlike Lexington, Haywood has been to the Class 4A Semi-Finals every year since 2017, and made it to the State Championships in 2018, falling 56-21 to Greenville. Now, 2nd year Head Coach Chris Smith will look to finish the job in 2020 and bring home a ring. It all starts by beating a spectacular Lexington team on Friday.
Haywood leads the All-Time series 10-7-2, with the last meeting coming in 2016. Haywood has won 8 of the last 10 in the series, however, this will be the first-ever postseason meeting between the squads. Everything will be on the line for both teams in Friday’s 7 p.m. showdown.