Week 2: Home openers (sorta)

It’s a strange world, is it not?

Anderson County High School had to give up a home game when an opponent scratched late, leaving The Herd faithful with only four home games in 2021.

This Friday is the first of those home tilts and it’s going to be a good one. Heck, with AC’s schedule, they’re all going to be good.

Welcome to the “Greatest Show on Turf,” to a senior-rich Science Hill Hilltopper football squad — a team many in Johnson City are calling the best team the school has put forth in 20 or 30 years.

Top Mav Man Davey Gillum said the Hilltopper offense is run by an experienced quarterback who runs well, passes well, and doesn’t get rattled.

“They have some speed in their receivers,” Gillum said. “They’re fast, but they’re not Powell fast.”

Friday’s showdown will the first home game where the new Jumbotron will be in full bloom.

The Hilltoppers have an experience waiting for them.

Make no mistake, the Maverick schedule would be considered brutal for most teams. Gillum said the schedule is just what he wants, however, for the Mavs.

“It’s battle after battle after battle and we won’t back down,” he said. “There will be a lot of emotion. There will be a lot of excitement.”

There is no better way to get a team ready for the five-week playoff battle.

And since it’s only one of four home game for the Mavs … Gillum said there’s something special about playing at home in front of the AC faithful. He’s counting on those faithful this Friday night.

Clinton High School has its 2021 season opener Friday night as well against a rebuilding Autin-East team.

At West High School.

Coach Darell Keith hasn’t been worried about the field, however.

“Austin-East is very athletic. They’re unpredictable. We’re going to have to be on our game, and we’re going to probably have to go back to the drawing board and do some things,” Keith said.

As for when the field will be ready: “That’s on God. I don’t know if it’s going to be ready or not,” he said (before the weekend’s announcement that the field will not be ready).

Great swathes of internet forests have been harvested so Dragon fans could post online about the concept of having a pretty good-looking team (thumping William Blount 41-23) having a home opener on the road.

Yes, groundbreaking on the field began last May and yes, the City of Clinton provided everything it was required to.

But in the aftermath of the 2020 pandemic …

“There have been problems getting some materials to finish the field,” Dr. Tim Parrott told Anderson County Commission during its Aug. 16 meeting.

So … What you gonna do?

Did you know:

• The Last time won a season opener was in 2018 at Scott, 16-8;

• The last time Clinton scored 41 points in an opener was in 1992 at Powell, 41-19;

• The record for opening-game points by the Dragons is 51 points at Cumberland County, 1971;

• The last time Clinton opened the season at 1-0 and Anderson County and Oak Ridge were 0-1 was in 2009.

All interesting trivia, but the big question making the rounds is will Dragon season tickets be honored at West High School.

The answer is yes.

As for who will reap all the funds at the concession stands? Will it be West High School programs manning those staples of fund raising, or will Clinton High School clubs and programs be using those facilities?

Clinton Athletic Director Rob Stacy did not return attempts to contact him.

Clinton fans, ask before you buy that soda and hot dog Friday night.