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Here are a few of my thoughts on tonight's Shelby County at Collins football game, or n.q.k.a. (not quite known as) the County Clash, the Shelbyville Showdown, the Clash of Titans and Rockets. Along with a good nickname, this game needs some type of traveling trophy, how about the Battle for the Saddle? Since Shelbyville is known as the Saddlebred Capital of the World. Tweet me if you have any suggestions.
*In the grand scheme of things - it's not a district game (these two teams aren't even in the same classification), so there are no postseason implications - tonight's game means very little.
But try telling that to the 16-, 17-, 18-year-old young men who'll take the field tonight, the coaches or the fans who'll likely be packing the stands (as long as it isn't raining I expect an enormous crowd, and even if it is raining it should still be a great crowd).
That being said, in addition to bragging rights (again, a trophy would be nice too) the winner of this game should also gain some momentum. For the Rockets, a victory would validate their resurgence and help their confidence heading into district play next week. For the Titans, a victory would mean they still have the top football program in the county and give them a shot of adrenaline heading into their toughest remaining district game, next week at North Oldham.
Still the good thing about this game is that no matter who wins and who loses, both can go on and have very successful regular- and post-seasons.
*Tonight's game is Homecoming for Collins, but it wasn't supposed to be. Last week's game against Spencer County - the second of only four home games for the Titans this season - was originally slated to be Homecoming, but it was moved because of testing at Collins. And since the Titans' only remaining home game after tonight, Oct. 19 against Atherton, was already scheduled to be "Senior Night" Collins had no other choice but to move its Homecoming to tonight.
*Finally, one of the things I've enjoyed most about the first two football games between these two schools is that pretty much everyone has been well-behaved on, and off, the field. I can only remember one personal foul penalty in the first two years and I don't recall it being a dirty play. Many of these kids grew up playing with, and against, each other (years ago, during their youth league days, Collins junior quarterback Lawson Page and Shelby County senior quarterback Zach Shipley played on the same team. Page's father, Frank, was the coach and Shipley was the QB, while the younger Page was a tight end) and are still friends. That's why I expect the good sportsmanship to continue on the field, and the friendships to continue off of it.