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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.