Streaking Hilltoppers welcome Cavaliers to The Palace
There isn't a much better time for R-S Central to host its bitter rival, East Rutherford.
The Hilltoppers are riding a three-game winning streak while the Cavaliers are limping into the matchup following a big loss to Crest last week.
If the Hilltoppers pull out a win tonight, they'll earn the unofficial title of County Champions.
"I've been looking forward to this game since last year," R-S Central head coach Mike Cheek said. "We've battled back and now we have a chance to win the county championship and get into the playoffs. Then we start all over again."
The community is just as excite. R-S Central held a community pep rally earlier this week in anticipation of arguably the biggest high school football game of the season in Rutherford County.
"For the last three weeks all people have been talking about up here is East Rutherford. It's been tough on the coaches trying to keep the kids focused," Cheek said. "Thankfully, now the game is really here."
With the game on the horizon, Cheek isn't focused on the hype surrounding the team, but the actual Cavaliers football team.
"At the pep rally I didn't say anything because I'm just focused on the team," Cheek said. "This is the one game all year that everyone is excited about. Myself and the coaches we get this way about every game we play."
For the coaching staff, this Cavaliers group is a tough one to figure out considering they can be a running team one week and a passing team the next.
"Our first concern is to stop the run game. We know they throw the ball a lot but I would rather a team throw the ball every play," Cheek said. "It's hard to stop a team when they can run and throw because the play action can hurt you."
If the Hilltoppers want to stop the run, all they need to do is duplicate what the Crest Chargers did last Friday when they held the Cavaliers to 11 yards on 35 carries.
"I know last week Crest held them to 11 yards but I'm sure they've been working all week to get the run game back," Cheek said.
Offensively for the Hilltoppers, they hope to continue their incredible success on the ground.
:On offense we'll see what they come out with on the first series," Cheek said. "If they gives us the run then we're going to take it, if not, we'll put it in the air."
One thing is for sure, there will be a big crowd on hand for this one.
"It's going to be a knockdown drag-out like it is every year. Any time you play a county team it's tough," Cheek said. " I know it's a big game. I just hope it's a big night for our 19 seniors that bust their tails for us the last four years.
"It's one of those games where a lot of the times the best team doesn't win. Now we just hope the weather is good and everyone comes out to support both teams."
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at The Palace in Rutherfordton.