Even though the rivalry itself is still in its toddler stage, in only two years East Hamilton versus Ooltewah in football is already one of the city's must-see games.
And tonight's "Battle of White Oak Mountain" at Ooltewah promises plenty of emotion and offensive fireworks. The host Owls (3-1) average scoring more than six touchdowns per game, and the Hurricanes have averaged five TDs against a schedule that included two state-ranked opponents.
"We've played some tough games already, but this is one that will have to be a little different for the guys because they're playing kids they grew up with and maybe even go to church with," Hurricanes coach Ted Gatewood said. "It'll be a great, playoff atmosphere for the fans and both teams."
Both teams are playoff contenders -- East Hamilton is ranked No. 2 in Class 5A and Ooltewah is receiving votes for the state rankings -- and now that the Hurricanes have moved up in classification, tonight's game is now a District 5-AAA matchup. Ooltewah has won each of the previous two meetings, including last year when the Owls were responsible for the Hurricanes' lone regular-season loss.
"It's a pretty big deal, I do know that," first-year Owls coach Mac Bryan said. "Rivalry games are what make high school football speical."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
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 ...