By Kyle Lovern
The new rivalry between Cardinal Conference members Mingo Central and Tolsia will be played out again Friday at Harless Stadium on the campus of the Miners.
The game is the annual John Fry Bowl, named for the late assistant coach who died unexpectedly two years ago.
The Miners opened up with a good road win last week defeating Wyoming East 37-28.
Led by junior quarterback Stevie Hammond, who rushed for 160 yards and a TD, MCHS showed a strong ground game. Coach Yogi Kinder has a variety of backs he can call on. Look for Chase Justice, Chance Lester and Joe Hunt to get the bulk of the carries. However, the Miners are deep at running back and Kinder and his staff could call on others if needed, including T.T. Thornsbury and Ethan Collins.
Along the line look for Zach Holt and Clay Ellis to anchor things for Mingo Central, along with Cole Ellis, Ethan Jones and others who are battling for playing time.
The improved Tolsia Rebels opened the season with a tough home loss last Friday to arch rival and perennial Class 2A power Wayne 40-18.
The Rebels last made the postseason in 2007. Mingo Central is coming off back-to-back playoff appearances.
It has been a tough 7-year playoff drought for the Rebels. Tolsia posted an 0-10 record three years ago before rebounding for a pair of 5-5 seasons, missing the playoffs due to mathematical elimination.
To come so close the last two years is frustrating, but Tolsia’s Coach Mike Smith is confident that things are on the upswing for his program.
“We’ve had probably the best offseason since I’ve been here,” he said, “The kids have grown in experience and strength and we’re seeing a lot more of them working harder and putting in time to get better.
Seth McMillion will start at quarterback. Tyler Senters, who played as a lineman as a junior, has moved to tight end.
Junior Aaron Hardwick will anchor the line along with Jeb Evans, Evan Ratcliff, and Cameron Nichols.
Luke Presley will likely lead the rushers as a featured back. Others who will get carries for the Wayne County school are Jennings Holland, Tyler Stroud and Logan Presley.
The offensive line was largely inexperienced and undersized last year, but Smith is excited at the progress his lineman have made this year.
The weather is expected to be warm, with a chance of showers. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)