Top Matchup: South Pittsburg hosts Whitwell again - with everything on the line

The Whitwell Tigers (11-1) face South Pittsburg (12-0) in a 1A quarterfinal matchup Friday night. The rematch is our Top Matchup.

Friday the 13th last month was a night to remember.

Definitely for South Pittsburg and a heartbreaker for Whitwell.

The game was a slug fest.

With less than five seconds left, the Tigers took a shot at the endzone to tie the game.

But it fell short.

Coach Randall Boldin said his team grew from that game, "We didn't waste that loss so to speak. Our kids learned from that loss. Since that loss, our team has hit another gear. "

Coach Boldin said his team has stepped it up offensively and defensively ever since that night.

Practices have been sharper. "You get that loss and realize you can't just show up, you've got to come to practice every day focused and ready to get better," Boldin noted.

The Tigers will rely on running backs Trace Condra and Josh Wingo.

Quarterbacks Dawson Holloway, Warner Ashworth and the rest of the team know what's on the line. Boldin has given the same message to his team every day. "If you take one play off, that's the one play that something bad's going to happen, so you cannot take a play off. You have to do your job every single snap."

Across the county, South Pittsburg knows they'll have a fight on their hands.

But they are battle tested.

Head coach Vic Grider said, "If you had told me we would be 12-0, I would have probably doubted that because we lost a lot of really good football players last year, but our seniors have done a great job of getting us to this point. "

In addition, the Pirates offensive line has been a mainstay.

The team has leaned on them all season.

South Pitt is looking for one more win to push them even closer to Cookeville. Grider knows it means even more to his seniors. "It's a quality group of kids that I wouldn't trade for anybody, but it's not going to be complete to them until we can figure out how to win three more football games. Obviously, we've got a huge one Friday night."

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