MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — It’s a tale of two teams.
Both Bartlett and Collierville have 2nd year head coaches. Both with Cinderella stories this season as they battle tonight for the Region 7-6A championship.
One could argue it’s one of toughest districts in the state.
The Collierville Dragons are preparing to play for a region title, even after battling COVID-19 earlier this season.
“The team, having my back and having everybody else’s back that got the virus and really just being there for them,” said Dragons senior linebacker Ethan Hassler.
Hassler was one of the Dragon players that had COVID-19.
“It was kind of hard for me,” Hassler said. “I’m with my mom and my dad, so I had to isolate myself, keep myself away from everybody to keep them safe.”
After two weeks off, the Dragons faced one of their biggest challenges yet, traveling to take on Gallatin in week two.
“We had two weeks off, no practice, no workouts,” said Collierville left tackle Noah Upchurch. “We had a week to prepare.”
“I think we’ve had a really good solid class. We have good chemistry and then after the Briarcrest game, we got taken away for two weeks. So, we’ve always been playing on an edge.”
They’ve also had an edge playing under former Dragon Joe Rocconi.
“Knowing that he came Collierville and that he was in the program, a part of a winning program,” said Hassler. “In the recent years, we’ve been kind of the losing side, but knowing that he can come back and bring a winning mentality to this program. I think it means a lot to everybody.”
About 25 miles north to Bartlett, the Panthers are also 3-0 in district play.
“We preach out being the best in the city,” Panthers senior linebacker Jeremy Boyland said. “We have history with Collierville as us being a down program. Winning means a lot to us.”
Both teams believe it’s going to be a hard fought game until the end.
“They need to know that we’re hungry,” Hassler said. “They need to know that we’re not soft. They need to know that we’re coming and ready to play.”
“Any time you have two good teams playing each other, the team that makes the fewest mistakes comes out on top,” said Bartlett head coach Lance Tucker.
“it’s definitely a challenge, but we’re up for it and I feel like we’re ready,” Rocconi said.