1 month. 30 days. 720 hours until we renew the rivalry that brings Dickson County to pick sides.
The Cougars and the Red Hawks are set to do battle at Dickson County High School on August 19th.
With every passing day, it seems the excitement gets more palpable.
Both teams have a lot to prove, but for very different reasons.
Over the next month, we will examine how they plan to do that.
How that plan to answer questions like; Can Jeff Tomlinson finally be the man to turn the program around?
How does Houston Thiel replace a stacked senior class that has moved on?
Does Creek Wood get back to their winning ways?
Will Colbey Lamberth take a big step under the new staff?
For the first time in several years, is Dickson County the favorite in their opener?
And many more, as well as names like Lamberth and Ethan Donaldson, among others, to keep an eye out for.
For now, though let’s dive into the generalities.
Creek Wood is obviously coming off their worst season in several years.
In fact, the last time the Red Hawks were under .500 in the regular season, they finished 4-6 last year missing the playoffs, was 2016.
That was right before they saw an extremely talented class of athletes come through that included Michael Harris, DJ Riley, Elijah Donaldson, Andrew Bruce, and more.
With that class, the Red Hawks saw many wins and several consecutive playoff appearances.
That is until last year when they were forced into a region with a step up in terms of talent.
Now they remain in that same region and do so without defined starters at several key positions.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the rivalry, the Cougars have a very different set of problems to solve.
For many years, being in an overly talented region was Dickson County’s issue.
Now they enter the opener coming off a year where they switched regions and saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
This region is winnable.
However, the culture and system did not seem to mesh with the team.
They failed yet again last year to win more than two games, something they have not done since 2018.
Now they have another new coach, with another new system.
This time though, it is a familiar face to many.
Jeff Tomlinson was the Offensive Coordinator at Creek Wood under Chuck Daniel and helped him build that program into the year-in and year-out contender they are.
The Red Hawks still run a variation of Tomlinson’s offense in fact.
After helping build up the Red Hawks, Tomlinson was offered the opportunity to be the head man himself.
He took the job and proceeded to turn Montgomery Central into an ever-dangerous and consistent playoff team.
Now he faces a challenge he has stated he is more than up for.
The highest classification of high school football in the state, at one of the smallest schools in that classification.
The talent is there; Lamberth, Cade Pilinkgton, Wyatt Grambling, etc. but will it be utilized the right way.
Only time will tell.
We know this for certain, Tomlinson will have his team believing they can win the opener.
He certainly will have his defense prepared for a system he has ran extremely well at two different stops.
For the first time since 2018 will the Cougars ground the soaring Red Hawks?