Meigs County is a confident team with an attitude this season. The Tigers (12-0) and South Greene (12-0) clash in Decatur Friday night in a quarterfinal matchup.
But, the 2020 Tigers are a different breed than those that went to the state title game last year.
2018 "Mr. Football" winner Aaron Swafford did everything for Meigs County last year. Swafford was a four year starter who led on both sides of the ball. Many thought this year's Tigers would decline without him. Head coach Jason Fitzgerald said his players heard the talk. "This team's just had a chip on their shoulder all year because they were told once Aaron left, they wouldn't be real good. They've gone out to prove everybody wrong and I have no doubt in my mind they'll come out Friday night, ready to prove people wrong again," Fitzgerald said.
Swafford still cheers on his alma mater as senior Will Meadows churns up yards and touchdowns. Meadows has racked up more than 1,500 all-purpose yards and was named a "Mr. Football" finalist Tuesday. "It's surreal. I was sitting there with my mom and she started crying. It was really an emotional moment," Meadows said.
Last year, the Tigers smoked South Greene by 32 points in the playoffs. This year, the Rebels have their own "Mr. Football" finalist in quarterback Luke Myers. He's a dual-threat player. Meigs' finalist (Meadows) added 15 pounds of muscle weight, consuming about 4,000 calories a day and working out twice a day.
But he gives all the credit to his offensive line, which he thanked by name in a Wednesday interview. "My offensive line, they got in that weight room and got after it this summer," Meadows said.
Senior Malachi Hayden is a key piece of that offensive line. He said the unit is single minded. "We all push each other each game just to one up the other as you would say. We have competitions like who can get the most pancakes, who can get the best blocks," Hayden said.
Hayden and Meadows stand out as senior leaders. Regardless of who wins or loses Friday night, it will be the seniors last *home game. The playoff bracket puts the winner on the road in the semifinals.
That gives Coach "Fitz" a motivation point. "We've already talked about it this week. You've got one more time seniors to step on Jewell Field. How are you going to write your ending?"