Security will also be heightened for the Dalton at Southeast Whitfield game, according to Southeast Whitfield High School Principal Brian Satterfield. The Whitfield County rivalry intensified in the last two weeks after an allegation was made to the Georgia High School Association that Dalton player Corey Smith, who played at Southeast for three seasons before transferring, was ineligible.
Satterfield said his school always provides extra security for rivalry games.
"We have extra security on hand for our games with Dalton and Northwest [Whitfield]," Satterfield said. "We will have a little more this Friday. We expect, as always, good behavior and sportsmanship from our students and fans."
— Lindsey Young
Sequatchie County High School Principal Tommy Layne has planned extra security for Friday night's matchup between the Indians and Signal Mountain High School, both teams' final regular-season football game.
"I would rather be proactive than reactive," Layne said. "We won't have the National Guard here or anything, but I have spoken with our chief of police and our county sheriff, and every officer who isn't tied up with something else will be at the game. We typically have a lot of police at our games anyway because there isn't much else to do in Dunlap on Friday nights, so they come to the games."
Many Signal Mountain supporters have suggested that it was a tip from Sequatchie County that led to the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association investigation into an Eagles player's eligibility this year. The TSSAA ruled last week that Tim McClendon was ineligible to play, which forced 2010 state champion Signal Mountain to vacate six wins and eliminated them from the playoffs.
"You don't want to worry about what happens with the fans," Layne said. "The game is about the kids on both sides and hopefully the adults from both sides will remember that."
Signal Mountain coach Bill Price said he expects Eagles fans to conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike fashion.
"We will represent ourselves at Sequatchie County, and our fans will represent us as one would expect," he said last week after the TSSAA denied the Eagles' appeal of the TSSAA decision.
While both teams compete in District 7-AA, Signal Mountain would have competed in the Class 4A playoff bracket, while Sequatchie County will compete in 3A. Although the Indians will get an automatic berth now that Signal Mountain has been eliminated from the postseason, even without the automatic berth given to the top two teams in each district, the seven wins the Indians have already is good enough to earn a playoff spot.
The tension between the two sides boiled over near the end of last week's TSSAA's Board of Control hearing, when attorney Clancy Covert, representing Signal Mountain, stated that the school with the most to gain from the Eagles' vacating six wins was Sequatchie County.
Layne, a TSSAA board member who had recused himself from voting but stayed to listen to the hearing, rose from his seat in the back of the room and challenged that notion.
"This guy here [Covert] is questioning my integrity and my school's integrity," he said loudly. "All the involvement I had was to speak with [TSSAA executive director] Mr. [Bernard] Childress about what I had heard. If you want to question my integrity you can come here and do it any day of the week."
Shortly after the hearing ended, Childress spoke about that issue.
"I can make one thing clear. While we were traveling for our administrators' meetings, we had numerous administrators tip us off that we needed to look into Signal Mountain's football program. But Tommy Layne was not one of those people who came to me," Childress said.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...