This week's Friday Night Rivals Sideline Wrapup Impact Game dives into the second round of the Tennessee high school football playoffs. It takes us out Highway 58 to Decatur.
The Meigs County Tigers have their focus set on one particular number. The Tigers played in 14 games last year, and 14 in 2017.
But making it to 15 and winning that last one is the ultimate goal. Senior quarterback and safety Aaron Swafford elaborated, "I mean that's what we've worked for my freshman, sophomore, junior and now senior year. Winning all those games are nice, but that's the main goal and we haven't done it yet so that's really what we're looking forward to."
The Tigers came within three points last year, and fell one point short in 2017 of making it to the title game. South Greene (10-1) squares off against Meigs County Friday night. South Greene is a team that loves to run the ball. And it's also a team the Tigers have steamrolled in the playoffs the last two years. But coach Jason Fitzgerald said his team is smart enough to understand one slip up ends it all. "We have to have that focus just of each Friday night, can't be looking ahead. Can't worry about what we did last week. It's gotta be sole focus on South Greene and the 48 minutes we play against them," Fitzgerald said.
That focus runs through the reigning Class 2A "Mr. Football" Swafford. The Naval Academy pledge is a true field general. The quarterback and safety is almost always involved in a Tigers play. Come Friday, he'll start his 50th game as the Tigers quarterback. Fitzgerald noted, "It's just like having another coach out there. I mean he knows what's happening. The moment's never too big. He can get in the huddle and when he needs to say something, he draws the respect of the guys in the huddle."
This year, the Tigers split against two of the best in Class A, losing a tough one at South Pittsburg. "When you've played Greenback (the Tigers won), when you've been to South Pittsburg, that gets you ready if you have to go on the road during the playoffs," Fitzgerald said.
For now, the Tigers are at home Friday night. At home and ready to take one more step up the playoff ladder. "And this year, Coach Fitzgerald, he did a great job and the first thing he said when he got here for summer workouts is we're playing 15 games this year and we've never looked back," Swafford said.