By John Thornton:
West TN Game of the Week- Week 9- Hardin County vs. Lexington
The race to the finish line of quite possibly the weirdest season of Tennessee High School Football is in full effect. Region titles are being decided, and playoff spots are being locked up as we enter the final 3 weeks of the regular season.
On Friday evening, 2 of the best Class 4A teams in the state of Tennessee will collide in a regional showdown with monstrous playoff implications on the line.
At 7-0 on the season and sitting at #2 in the Tennessee Associated Press Top 10, only behind reigning 4A State Champion Elizabethton, the Hardin County Tigers have just rolled through their schedule to this point behind a high-octane scoring attack. Coach Matt Smith’s team has scored below 40 only once all season, steamrolling opponents by an average of 32 points per contest. The closest game the Tigers have played all year was a 13 point win over Dyersburg on September 11. Put simply, this is a tremendous football team with state championship aspirations. But before any team can win a state title, first they have to win a region title.
Standing in Hardin County’s way is a very good Lexington Tigers team that sits at #9 in the Tennessee AP Top 10 in Class 4A. Lexington sits at 6-1, and winners of their last 3 games. While they have not dominated their schedule in the same manner as Hardin County, Coach Bryant Hollingsworth has done a fantastic job coaching his group this season and they will expect to pull off the upset. The lone blemish on Lexington’s resume came by way of a 35-25 defeat at the hands of Class 3A thoroughbred Milan.
These two teams are no strangers to one another as they have met 66 times with Lexington holding a 39-27 edge in the series, but Hardin County has won the last 2 meetings and 6 of the last 8 including last year’s 12-7 win at Jim Carroll Stadium. As good as these teams are, fans could see an encore in the postseason. Lexington will look to end their skid and spoil Hardin County’s undefeated season at Jim Stowe Stadium Friday evening in what could be one of the best games of the year.