PIKEVILLE, Tenn. (WRCB) -- Throw out the numbers. Throw out the records.
Friday night is all about bragging rights in Pikeville.
Channel 3 Facebook fans voted overwhelmingly to make Sequatchie County's visit to arch rival Bledsoe County the Friday Night Football Game of the Week, bringing the Week 6 spotlight to one of the area's fiercest feuds.
Bledsoe County has won three of the last four against the Indians, but its lone loss in that stretch came in the 2010 state playoffs. All four of those meetings have been decided by six points or less, including the Warriors' 21-17 win last season in Dunlap.
A victory carries a little more weight than usual this season with both programs experiencing a rebuilding year.
Bledsoe County (1-4, 0-2 in 7-AA) graduated a large senior class that enjoyed one of the best runs in the program's history. Quarterback Cody Holloway and running back Brandon Smith helped the Warriors win 25 games over their last three years, including a win over Meigs County in the first round of the 4A state playoffs last season.
"We have a few veterans still on this team, but there's plenty of young guys, too," said head coach Jason Reel. "It's still a high school sport with a high school age group, so you never know what to expect. They test your patience sometimes, but the kids show up every day and keep working."
One-thousand yard rusher Holden Boynton and wideout-turned-quarterback Jeremiah Gilbert now lead the Warriors' attack, which opened the season with a win over Cumberland County.
A one-point loss to Marion County a week later sparked Bledsoe's current four-game slide, but the Warriors have been tied or within one possession in the second half of each of those losses.
"It's a bit frustrating that we haven't been able to finish games," Reel said. "Our kids have put themselves in some good spots, but the next thing you know we're playing catch-up. We're not used to it and we don't like it, but we're dealing with it."
The story is similar for Sequatchie County (1-5, 0-2), whose lone win is a 35-14 rout of Meigs County in Week 1.
Indians' head coach Chad Barger, a Bledsoe County alum, was tasked with replacing his quarterback, top two receivers and top three rushers from a team that went 7-4 and advanced to the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Freshmen and sophomores make up nearly two-thirds of the roster for an Indians team that graduated six starters on both sides of the ball.
"We do need to stay patient because we are a pretty young team, but there's no excuses," said head coach Chad Barger. "Our biggest enemy right now has been ourselves. We've put the ball on the ground too many times, blown too many assignments.
"There's been a lot of mental errors, so we need to clean that up."
Injuries have also taken their toll in Dunlap, where the Indians have lost five starters in the last few weeks. Still, the hunger to improve and motivation to fight to the finish remains in Barger's team.
"Everybody is maturing as the season goes on," said senior linebacker Austin Lamb. "All we can do is pick ourselves up. We need to get better week to week, play harder, play smarter and do what we need to do to win."
Kickoff in this year's showdown is set for 8pm ET (7pm CT). Paul Shahen and Jordan Tippit will be live in Pikeville to provide full coverage on Week 6 of Channel 3's award-winning Friday Night Football starting at 11:10pm ET Friday night.
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