It’s a Week 0 matchup that has neighborhood fans buzzing once again.
After a two-year absence, Hillsboro and Hillwood will renew their football rivalry, with a season opening game, 7 p.m. Friday at Hillwood. It’s the first of a two-year contract between the schools whose coaches are good friends – Hillwood’s James (Bubba) Spears and Hillsboro’s Dennis Moreno.
“Dennis and I have a good friendship, we had open dates for a game, and it seemed like a logical thing that we play each other,” Spears said. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for Dennis, he runs a class program.”
“I know Bubba well, we are good friends, and this is a good way to open in Week 0,” Moreno added. “I know going over there and playing him that things will be run right. It’s an exciting way for both teams to start the season.”
The teams stopped playing each other after the 2008 season when they last were in the same region. From 2005 to 2008, Hillsboro outscored Hillwood 173-13 combined in four blowout victories, the last of which was 27-0 three years ago.
The last Hillwood victory came in 2004 when the Toppers won 27-21 in a 10-0 regular season after which coach Jerry Link’s Toppers reached the state playoff quarterfinals.
Hillwood was 3-7 last season and Hillsboro was 4-6. Neither team made the playoffs.
Each hopes to use this game as a springboard toward better days in the wake of jamboree losses last weekend.
Hillwood fell to host Maplewood 21-12 on Thursday, then Hillsboro lost 20-7 to Overton on Friday at McGavock.
“Maplewood is one of the premier teams in Metro,” Spears said. “And they have one of the city’s best backs in [Ladarius] Vanlier. It was something we can learn from and the bottom line is we’re 0-0 just like every one else.
“We lost just four people from last year. We should be a lot better.”
Spears mentioned senior quarterback C.J. McRae and junior linebacker DeCorey Miller as key returnees.
Moreno is counting on senior linebacker William Cooper and junior running back Robert Kelly as mainstays. It appears C.J. Robinson has nailed down the starting job at quarterback after tossing a touchdown pass to Amari Hawkins for the Burros’ lone score in the jamboree.
“The heat has been a factor,” said Moreno who is starting his third year at Hillsboro. “We’re not nearly at the point where we need to be.”
• Hillsboro Happenings: Moreno said that while cleaning out some office space at Hillsboro that he and assistant Bobby Baskin came across some old Burro game film from the 1950s and on.
“The first one was from about 1956,” Moreno said. “We’re only missing some from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. We’re converting them into DVDs, and we’re making them available to old lettermen or anyone who might want them at a reasonable cost.
Moreno said to go to the web site http://burrofootball.webs.com for more info.
Also, Hillsboro is honoring its first Hall of Fame class on homecoming weekend Sept. 30-October 1. The inductees will be introduced at halftime of Hillsboro’s game with Stratford that Friday, then will be honored at a luncheon the next day. The honorees and more details on their induction will announced soon.
• FRA suffering early injuries: Give Franklin Road Academy coach David Pack credit for one thing – he’s not backing down from anyone in the preseason.
Last Friday, he sent his team against the best when the Panthers traveled down I-65 to play defending Class 5A state champion Columbia Central in their segment of the annual Columbia Gridiron Association Jamboree.
“I know coach [Vance] Belew well, we have a good association,” Pack said. “They [Columbia] physically manhandled us,” Pack said. “We played a very good team like Columbia and we’ve scrimmaged Overton, another good team.
“We’ve really been hit hard on our defensive front. We have three guys out.”
Mason Luplow, 6-2, 270, a four-year starter, out two weeks with a stress fracture. Also, Joe Irby, 6-4, 290, has a shoulder injury and Scotty Looney is recovering from an injury.
FRA is counting on linemen Brad Whitaker and Gates Weaver to shoulder the load until its front gets back to full strength.
Matt Hissong will be the starting quarterback Friday when FRA opens its seasonat home against St. George’s.
“It’s a tough opener, they were state finalists [DII-A] last year,” Pack said.
FRA then visits Hillsboro next Friday.
• Other jamboree notes: Watch for Stratford to be improved this season after the Spartans knocked off McGavock 14-8 last Friday in the Metro Jamboree.
Stratford is looking to improve after having gone 0-10, then 2-8 seasons the past two years. Also, Pearl-Cohn blew past Hunters Lane 21-0 in its jamboree segment.
• Lipscomb honors champs: David Lipscomb will play the only Saturday prep game in Nashville when the Mustangs host Camden. Coach Ernie Smith’s Class AA state baseball champions and the individual state track champs will be honored at the game.
Brentwood High at Cookeville, 7:30 (TV-30)
Antioch at LaVergne
BGA at Smyrna
Cane Ridge at Pearl-Cohn
Davidson Academy at White House-Heritage
DCA at Friendship
Ensworth at MUS
Ezell-Harding at Columbia Academy
Father Ryan at Overton
Franklin at Siegel
Glencliff at Sycamore
Goodpasture at CPA
Hillsboro at Hillwood
Independence at Blackman
Kingsbury at MBA
Maplewood at Hunters Lane
NCS at MT Christian
Rossview at Whites Creek
Stratford at Pope JPII
St. George’s at FRA
Trinity, Ky., at Brentwood Academy
Tullahoma at McGavock
Camden at Lipscomb