CHARLESTON, Tenn. (WRCB) -- Two years ago Rhea County's visit to Walker Valley meant a lot to both teams for entirely different reasons.
Each mired in difficult campaigns, the Golden Eagles and Mustangs met in Week 9 in a battle of winless teams. Rhea County emerged with a 19-16 for its lone victory of the sesaon. Walker Valley would eventually finish 0-10 overall to extend the program's losing streak to 16 games.
In 2013, however, the fortunes appear to be changing for the former District 5-AAA rivals as the meet in The Corrall for Channel 3's Friday Night Football Game of the Week.
Mark Pemberton may be Rhea's third head coach in the last four years, but his team has weathered the adversity and emerged stronger for it with a 2-0 start to the season.
The Golden Eagles sent two backs, Demetrius Patterson and Jacob York, over the 100-yard mark in a 42-0 season-opening rout of Coffee County two weeks ago. Rhea County followed with a 33-6 drubbing of preseason 6-AAA favorite White County in its first-ever 6-AAA game last week.
Walker Valley's rise started a year ago with the program's first-ever 3-0 start. The Mustangs mustered a 5-5 finish and earned a trip to the playoffs for just the second time in school history, and are now trying to build off that momentum in Glen Ryan's second year.
Walker Valley is off to a 2-1 start in 2013 despite a roster than includes just eight seniors. Two freshmen have started and several more have played key roles in early-season wins over East Ridge and Seqouyah, and nearly helped the Mustangs shock preseason 5-AAA favorite East Hamilton last week.
After falling behind early to the second-ranked Hurricanes, Walker Valley roared back to tie the game at 35-all in the second half. However, a quick East Hamilton touchdown pass ended the rally and sparked a 21-0 closing spurt for the Canes in a 56-35 district-opening win.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at The Corrall in Charleston. Paul Shahen and Jordan Tippit will be live with coverage for Week 3 of Channel 3's Friday Night Football starting at 11:10 p.m. ET Friday night.