The Black Bears of Pisgah High School and the Mountaineers from Tuscola High School are all set to battle it out this Friday night in the “Haywood County Championship”. Tuscola defeated Pisgah in an intense game last year. Pisgah scored a last second touchdown to tie the game. However, a roughing the kick penalty was accepted by the Black Bears and they elected to go for a two and win the game. Pisgah was stopped short at the 1-yard line thus losing the game. The game was the closest margin of victory by either team in the series. Tuscola leads the all-time series that dates back to 1966 by a count of 25-22-1.
The Tuscola Mountaineers finished the 2011 season with a 4-8 record and an appearance in the NCHSAA AAA playoffs. The Mountaineers lost in the first round of the playoffs to Burns and also lost their head coach in the off-season. Brandon Allen takes over the reins of the Tuscola football program and will have a new quarterback to break in as well. Junior Woody Cornwell, a transfer from High Point Central, will lead the offense and give the Mountaineers the opportunity to throw the football this season. Cody Wood, Adam Silvers and Daniel Smathers form a talented group of receivers. Ben Greene returns this year to head the running attack for the Mountaineers, while Michael Herbertson and Bryce Myers will see some carries as backups. The defense will be anchored by two returning safeties in Hunter Creson and Levi Duffield. The Mountaineers enter the pivotal game against Pisgah with a 2-5 record after back-to-back wins the last 2 weekends.
The Pisgah Black Bears posted a disappointing 2-8 record last season. The Black Bears have already matched last season’s win total, boasting 2-5 record going into Friday night’s rivalry game. Pisgah began the season with senior Josh Noland under center but now face a challenge as to who will start this Friday night. Noland is a 4-year varsity starting quarterback but went down with a foot injury against Franklin. Junior McKinley Brown came in the next week and led the Black Bears to a 55-28 win over West Henderson. Odds are both will see snaps on Friday night since Noland is not back to 100%. The backfield will feature senior Garrett Holland and freshman Dustin Messer who both ran for a pair of touchdowns in last weekend’s win. Holland earned a place on the All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference team last season.
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