For the third year in a row, Morristown East and Morristown West will open the football season against one another, as the 48th annual City Championship game will be the lone game in the 11th annual Citizen Tribune Kickoff Classic on Friday, Aug. 23.
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. from Burke-Toney Stadium. West holds a 30-17 edge in the City Championship series, including five straight wins and 18 victories in the last 22 matchups. The Trojans also have two playoff victories over the Hurricanes, making this year’s Kickoff Classic the 50th all-time meeting between the two schools.
In the past few years, the City Championship game had taken place in the middle of the schedule for both teams, but with West moving up to Class 6A two seasons ago and the teams being in different conferences, the best solution for the game was to move it to the season opener.
Moving it to the opening weekend in 2017 certainly didn’t damper the excitement for the game, as the largest crowd in many years, and arguably ever, congregated at Burke-Toney Stadium to witness the first-ever season opening City Championship game, which the Trojans won 42-20. A crowd nearly the same size was in attendance last year as West held on for a 28-23 victory.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to truly showcase Morristown again this year in the Kickoff Classic with the game being East vs. West,” West coach Dr. Alvin Sanders said. “The Kickoff Classic has been unique from the start of the event with both teams playing on the same night, but adding the element of the City Championship to it, it has made it that much more special.”
First-year East coach Caleb Slover echoed Sanders’ comments, saying the Hurricanes are looking forward to opening the season against the Trojans for the third time while me makes his debut in the series.
“The opening night of the football season is always a night every fan is excited for, and I’m excited to be part of the City Championship and the Kickoff Classic for the first time,” Slover said. “There is always a lot of excitement for a new season, and our kids have this game circled on the calendar for a long time, and I’m sure the West kids have too. It’s going to be an exciting night, and it’s a game we are certainly excited about participating in.”
The Kickoff Classic will be the first of 10 games on the schedule for both teams.
West will be in Class 6A again this season and playing region games in the Big East Conference, where they will face Dobyns-Bennett, Farragut and, Hardin Valley at home, while traveling to Jefferson County, Bearden and Science Hill while taking on East, Cherokee, William Blount and Carter in their non-region games in the 2019 campaign. This season, West will host East, William Blount and Carter while traveling to Rogersville to take on Cherokee.
East will be in the mix of the Five Lakes Conference in Region 1-5A again this season, as they will host Cherokee, Cocke County and Daniel Boone in conference games and travel to Tennessee High, David Crockett and Volunteer in region play. This season, East will be the road team against West and will travel to Jefferson County while hosting Gibbs and Sevier County in 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.