For the first time since 2016, Morristown East and Morristown West will face off during the middle of the season as the 49th annual City Championship game will be the lone game in the Citizen Tribune Classic set for Sept. 25.
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. from Burke-Toney Stadium. West holds a 31-17 edge in the City Championship series, including six straight wins and 19 victories in the last 23 matchups. The Trojans also have two playoff victories over the Hurricanes, making this year’s Kickoff Classic the 51st all-time meeting between the two schools.
The past three years, the two teams have opened up their seasons against one another in the Citizen Tribune Kickoff Classic. That was the plan again this year until COVID-19 intervened, moving the game to both teams’ bye week.
Things will look different this year with health and safety regulations in place. Instead of a full Burke-Toney Stadium, 1500 tickets will be available with just a limited number of those available to the public. Those will be sold this week for $7.
Both schools require that you wear a mask to get into the game and each fan will be subjected to a temperature check before they are allowed into the stadium.
“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to not only play this season but to represent our school, community and family,” Morristown West head coach Dr. Alvin Sanders said.
“Should be a good game,” added Morristown East coach Caleb Slover.
Last season, the Trojans took down the Hurricanes 23-19 for their sixth straight win.
The Hurricanes scored the first two touchdowns to lead 13-0 before the Trojans roared back. Dylan Cribley threw for two touchdowns and ran for 61 yards to lead West.
Juan Villasenor kicked a 36-yard field goal on the final play of the half to get the Trojans within 13-10 and West used a 16-play drive after the second half kickoff to take the lead. East’s Cole Henson threw for 197 yards.
The ‘Canes set series records for penalties (17) and penalty yards (140) in the setback.
This will be both teams fourth game of the season with Morristown West coming in at 2-1 while the Hurricanes of Morristown East enter with a 1-2 record.
The Trojans got off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2014 with a 14-7 win over rival Jefferson Count y and a convincing 35-0 victory over Cherokee. Last week, the Trojans fell on the road to Farragut.
Hoping to pick back up where they left off last season, Morristown East came out of the gate hot, taking down Cherokee 34-0. However, the Hurricanes have struggled the past two weeks, losing on the road to Gibbs and at home to Tennessee High.
West is in Class 6A again this season and playing region games in the Big East Conference, where they will face Dobyns-Bennett, Hardin Valley and Carter, a non-region opponent, on the road, while taking on Bearden and Science Hill at home.
East will be in the mix of the Five Lakes Conference in Region 1-5A again this season, as they will host David Crockett and Volunteer in conference games and travel to Cocke County and Daniel Boone in region play. This season, East will be the home team against West and will travel to Sevier County for their non-region games.
In the playoffs, West’s region will once again be matched against Region 2-6A, which consists of Bradley Central, Cleveland, Heritage, Maryville, McMinn County, Ooltewah and William Blount. East’s region would pair up with Region 2-5A, which includes Carter, Gibbs, Knox Central, Knox Halls, Sevier County, Seymour and South-Doyle.
Sanders is 3-0 as head coach of the Trojans in the City Championship game while Slover is 0-1 after joining the Hurricane program last season.
The City Championship first started in 1972, a 48-7 victory for Morristown West.
In 2017, the first year the game was at the start of the season, the game brought the largest crowd for an East-West matchup.