Randy Smith: Marion County's Super Bowl

Friday, October 12, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Tonight the Whitwell Tigers will host cross-county rival South Pittsburg with the title in Region 3-A on the line. This is not new for South Pittsburg. The Pirates have been one of the premier football programs in our area and the entire state of Tennessee for many years. It is a new big deal for Whitwell. Up until a couple of years ago, the Tigers were the doormat in Marion County football for Marion County High School and South Pittsburg. Both Marion County and the Pirates have won multiple state championships through the last three decades. The Marion County-South Pittsburg rivalry is the oldest, most intense rivalry in Tennessee. A book has even been written about that grudge-filled rivalry. 

Now, Whitwell High School is in the spotlight with South Pittsburg and the Tigers and their fans are loving it.
A more than capacity crowd will be on hand at Earl Condra Stadium and Vernon Holtcamp field this evening for the match up. Folks who are going to the game have had their tickets purchased for several days and I wouldn't be surprised if some fans are already at the stadium waiting for the gates to open. Excitement is at a fever pitch in that little coal-mining community and all I can say is, it's about time.

The Tigers have had success in other sports, with girls' softball coming to mind. Whitwell has made several trips to the State Championsip playoffs but they've never won the big one. The school's fishing team has also done very well and even a few football and basketball teams have enjoyed a modicum of success over the years. But this is football; the lifeline for every school's athletic department. The sport that can bring a school and its community together quicker than anything else. Coach Randall Boldin has created an excitement with his team that has been like no other team ever. 

I was a resident of Whitwell, Tennessee for twenty-five years. I loved my time there and my two children grew up there. We went through good times and bad while living in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley and I remember how tight-knit the community was. When our house burned in 1978, people gathered around us, helped us and supported us when we needed them most. In 1981 when thirteen coal miners lost their lives in a terrible explosion my wife Shelia and I got to witness first hand how a loving community can draw together and show love and support for their neighbors. In 2018 that community is drawing and pulling together again in a different and happier way. 

What's at stake here is home field advantage for the post-season. The winner of this game will host the other team later in the playoffs. There is no doubt in anyone's mind the Tigers and Pirates will battle it out again, with the winner having a great shot at a state championship. I won't be in attendance this evening as I will be broadcasting another football game on radio. But I will be aware of the score and even though I have friends in both towns, I can't help but pull at least a little bit for Whitwell. The Tigers deserve it.   

* * *

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


PREP SCHEDULES

UTC Wrestlers Host VMI Sunday

Rescheduled Basketball Game Between Brainerd And Tyner To Be Played Saturday


PREP BASKETBALL THURSDAY, JANUARY 17 East Hamilton at Soddy Daisy Ooltewah at Hixson Howard at Richard Hardy Baylor at GPS FRIDAY, JANUARY 18 McCallie at Baylor Cleveland ... (click for more)

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team returns home to Maclellan Gym for the first time since early November this weekend. The Mocs host VMI to open Southern Conference action ... (click for more)

The Brainerd High and Tyner Academy basketball game that was postponed in December will be played this Saturday afternoon. The Panthers of Brainerd High will host the local rivalry game against ... (click for more)


Sports

PREP SCHEDULES

PREP BASKETBALL THURSDAY, JANUARY 17 East Hamilton at Soddy Daisy Ooltewah at Hixson Howard at Richard Hardy Baylor at GPS FRIDAY, JANUARY 18 McCallie at Baylor Cleveland at Walker Valley Sale Creek at Soddy Daisy Red Bank at Hixson Lookout Valley at CSAS Brainerd at East Ridge McMinn Co. at Bradley Silverdale at Chattanooga Christian ... (click for more)

UTC Wrestlers Host VMI Sunday

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team returns home to Maclellan Gym for the first time since early November this weekend. The Mocs host VMI to open Southern Conference action on Sunday, Jan. 17. Doors open at 1:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) at Maclellan Gym with the match set to start at 2:00 p.m. Reminder to all fans attending that UTC’s Clear Bag Policy is in effect ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Federal Agents Make 126 Arrests, Seize Guns, Drugs During Operation Triple Beam

Federal officials said they made 126 arrests and seized seven guns and a large amount of illegal drugs during Operation Triple Beam in Hamilton County. David G. Jolley, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and J. Douglas Overbey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, said OTB was a systematic and sustained collaborative enforcement operation specifically ... (click for more)

Google Working With TVA To Put 1.6 Million Solar Panels In Tennessee And Alabama To Power New Data Centers

Google plans to work with TVA to deploy 1.6 million solar panels to power two new huge Google data centers in Tennessee and Alabama. Google officials said, "Hundreds of engineers, electricians and construction workers are building two new, energy-efficient Google data center campuses in the Southeastern U.S. - one in Tennessee and another in northern Alabama . And we’re not stopping ... (click for more)

Opinion

The Culture Of Policing In Chattanooga - And Response (3)

I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by Brenda Washington. Over the years, I have noticed that people tend to ignore or dismiss what she says, or attack her. This is unfortunate, because she is alerting people of the problems within the culture of policing in Chattanooga, whether it is in Hamilton County or the city of Chattanooga. There are good, honest police officers ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Jalen Hurts’ Decision

Several weeks ago the “Ten Best-Mannered People of 2018” were named and of all the lists compiled in the country, this is my favorite. Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback who virtually lives his life to enhance that of others, was the hands-down winner. He and his “Brees Dream Foundation” are so steeped in goodness it will make you cry. Justin Thomas, the pro golfer ... (click for more)