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Nov 27, 2006 12:00 am
For the first time in school history, Friendship Christian will play a football game in Murfreesboro. And next week's contest will be the biggest in the Commanders' 30-year gridiron history.
The Commanders gave their green-clad fans more to be thankful for on Thanksgiving weekend with a 24-7 state semifinal win over visiting Hampton on Friday before a full house at Pirtle Field.
Friendship will bring a 14-0 record to next Friday's 3:30 p.m. Class 1A state championship game against Jackson Christian, which routed Mt. Pleasant 42-14 last night, at Middle Tennessee State's Johnny (Red) Floyd Stadium.
It is the first appearance by a Wilson County-based team in the TSSAA football finals since the playoff system was instituted in 1969.
"We've been working for this all year, ever since last year when we got beat in the third round," said Friendship senior linebacker Wade Mitchell, one of three finalists for the 1A Mr. Football Lineman award which will be announced Monday. "Since the night we got beat (by Trousdale County), we've talked about this game."
And the Commanders have not lost since that 2005 state quarterfinal in Hartsville, winning all 14 times in '06 to date.
"It's been an unbelieveable season," said Commander coach John McNeal, who experienced a similar situation as a Goodpasture senior in 1978 when the Cougars also reached the state finals with a perfect record before losing to Alcoa. "It is something I still remember today. It's something I told these kids that it's something you'll always remember. As long as you go out there and play as hard as you can and give yourself an opportunity and these kids did this.
"And they got a chance to play for the state championship."
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.