For the third straight year, it is Meigs County versus Trousdale County facing off for the berth in the BlueCross Bowl.
And Tigers head coach Jason Fitzgerald expects the same old Yellow Jackets when Meigs travels to Hartsville to kick off 7 p.m. on Friday in Jim Satterfield Stadium.
“They’re the same, hard-nosed, well-coached football team that we’ve seen the last two years,” Fitzgerald said. “They haven’t changed a lot, we haven’t changed a lot. Probably, when they flipped the film on, they thought they were looking at the last two years, and when we flipped the film on, we thought we were looking at the last two. Just a really, really good football team, really well-coached, led by the two guys we see over and over.”
Friday’s Class 2A semifinal game will be a rubber match, of sorts. Two years ago, at Trousdale, the Yellow Jackets took down the Tigers, only for Meigs to return the favor in Decatur last year.
And for the third time, Meigs (13-0) will have Cameron Rankins, now a senior, to deal with on both sides of the ball at running back and linebacker. Rankins, who earned All-State honors last year, has offers from multiple schools at the FCS level.
And leading an offensive line that has four players of more than 265 pounds is senior Mason Basford, who also anchors the Yellow Jackets’ defensive line in the defensive tackle position.
“Those are their two leaders over there,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve seen them every year we’ve played them and know the kind of football players they are.”
Trousdale (11-2) likes to do one thing on offense: run the ball. And the Yellowjackets are good at it. They did not throw a single pass in last week’s 21-13 quarterfinal win over Watertown, which avenged one of the two losses the Yellow Jackets sustained this year.
Much like the last two times Meigs and Trousdale played each other, Fitzgerald expects the game to come down to the trenches. Helping the Tigers’ case is that everyone who was healthy last week is healthy this week, at least as of Tuesday afternoon.
“Any time you play in a game like this, or any other game, really, the team that wins the line of scrimmage is going to be the team that wins the football game,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve got to win the line of scrimmage, we’ve got to win the turnover battle, and we’ve got to make plays in the kicking game.”
Tickets for Friday’s game were already sold out within a few minutes of the link going active on the TSSAA website.
“We’re working to see if we can get any more, but sadly that’s it,” Fitzgerald said.