In a matchup that has been three seasons in the making, the Huntingdon Mustangs and Lake County Falcons will line it up this Friday night at 7 p.m. at Paul Ward Stadium. In both 2017 and 2018, Huntingdon fans and many other pigskin profilers believed that this matchup would come in the state semifinals.
The Falcons made it there but unfortunately for the Mustangs, they met up with the talented Cornersville Bulldog squads in the quarterfinals both seasons losing in 2017 in overtime by the score of 21-20 and the 2018 matchup 13-7. The Bulldogs then went on to defeat Lake County in the semis in 2017 7-0 and 21-8 last season.
The gates at Paul Ward Stadium will open at 5:15 Friday and advanced tickets can be purchased at the Huntingdon High School office Friday morning from 8 am until 12 pm.
In anticipation of the matchup, we had the opportunity to spend some time with Huntingdon head football coach Eric Swenson. This is the 30th season since coach put his roots down in West Tennessee after completing his high school football career at Harriman High School and his collegiate eligibility at East Tennessee State.
I asked Swenson to reflect on his time first as an assistant coach and as the skipper since the 2008 season.
“Huntingdon is a special place to live, I’m so thankful we were able to raise our girls here. There are only a handful of high school football programs with the tradition of Huntingdon and the passion and support from the community are second to none. The goal of every football team is too finish the season with a state championship or at least to give yourselves the chance to play for one, but I’m most proud of just having the opportunity to make a difference in the boys lives, teach them a little discipline, some things about life and to know that the kids were treated well and had fun playing for us.”
I asked Coach to talk about getting ready for the playoffs and the Lake County team in particular.
“Well, we haven’t done anything different this year as far as preparation, but having 18 seniors makes it a lot easier for a coach. “We have some kids that are focusing solely on getting healthy this week and game planning. The hay is already in the barn this time of year as far as execution of the game plan.”
“Our team goal at the start of the season was to put ourselves in this position, this week to have the chance to play for a state championship next week. We have a monumental challenge ahead of us this week in Lake County, they are huge across both lines and have good speed. Their skill players are special and have speed to burn. They are a very good football team but I believe we have a very good football team as well. There is no better place to be on Thanksgiving than at football practice!”
Both squads come into the matchup at 13-0 and have been dominating this season offensively with Huntingdon scoring a school-record 665 points and Lake County trailing by only one point at 664. Huntingdon has allowed 116 points defensively and Lake County has allowed 162 points. Since Huntingdon’s Week 6 victory over Milan the starting defense has only allowed 10total points and respectively since Lake County’s week 5 victory over Martin Westview their starting defense has only allowed 20 total points.
The advantage we have for Mustang Nation is that we have this monumental game in the friendly confines of Paul Ward Stadium, so let’s get there early and be LOUD AND PROUD to help push our boys to victory!