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Dress Rehearsal

Mountaineers, Walker Valley stage true, preseason game tonight

Heritage works on the wing-T during spring practice in May. Photo by G.W. Meredith

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

It’s not a scrimmage.

Khalil Abuhania rolls to throw.

Heritage and Walker Valley will play a full-on, regulation preseason game when the two meet tonight at Jack Renfro Stadium.

Everything, including the 7:30 kickoff, is wired to simulate a real game. They’ll turn the scoreboard on. There will be a full crew of game officials. The kicking game will be live. When it gets dark, they’ll hit the lights.

Admission is free.

A second preseason contest is scheduled for Wednesday with Clinton.

The Mountaineers open the season Aug. 30 at South-Doyle.

The reason for the departure from traditional scrimmage formats is twofold, Heritage coach Tim Hammontree said.

Some things are only revealed once a team has two or three games under its belt. Unlike last season, freshmen will be eligible for varsity play with the Mountaineers, and more than a few are expected to see playing time. The pace and tempo of a pro-style preseason contest could help ease the transition.

“There are a lot of kids that are playing for us right now that have never played in a high school football game,” Hammontree said.

Alcoa has a pair of scrimmage dates remaining, including a trip to Farragut today at 5. Bearden visits Goddard Field on Tuesday for the final tune up before next Friday’s jamboree at Maryville.

The Rebels conclude scrimmage work with a highly-anticipated trip to reigning Division II champion Ensworth at 7 this evening. The contest will take place at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, site of the BlueCross Bowl championships in December.

William Blount’s Governors conclude the scrimmage season with a visit from Seymour tonight at 5.

Tonight’s tilt is partly a matter of a longtime friendship with Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan, Hammontree said. The Mustangs will ensure the Mountaineers come away with a better picture of what remains to be done, he said.

“We’re playing them because we know they’ll do it the right way,” Hammontree said.

The game is also a good way to get the students behind the team, he said.

“I wanted to have a preseason game because I wanted our students to know football season has started and get them to come out,” Hammontree said.

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