East Hardy has established itself as one of the top Class A teams in the state the past two years. Not only have Cougars been to the state playoffs twice during that span, but have also won 16 consecutive regular-season games.
Tucker County, which also knows a little bit about having a dominant football program, will look to put an end to East Hardy's streak when the two unbeaten foes meet for a Potomac Valley Conference clash tonight at R.H. Armstrong Memorial Field in Parsons.
"It's going to be a very big game for us," Tucker County coach A.J. Rapp said. "We're going to have to play our best football if we want any chance of beating East Hardy."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joey Kittle
Tucker County coach A.J. Rapp talks with his team during a recent contest in Parsons. The No. 1 rated Mountain Lions will entertain No. 6 East Hardy in clash between two unbeaten teams tonight.
Playing their best is something the Mountain Lions have done so far this season. Tucker County enters the game with a No. 1 rating in Class A and a perfect 6-0 mark.
"Our offseason work really helped us in starting the season off strong," Rapp said. "Plus we had a lot of kids back from last year's team, so we didn't have to do a lot of things from a teaching standpoint."
The Cougars, which also enter the game undefeated with a 5-0 record, rolled to a 20-0 shutout victory over the Mountain Lions last season.
"We just didn't play well over there last season," Rapp said. "Hopefully we can pull out a big victory this season."
East Hardy, which has won three consecutive games against Tucker County, is anxious to go up against the No. 1 team in the state, according to head coach Chad Williams.
"The kids are very excited about going to Parsons and going up against Tucker County," Williams said. "We've had this game marked on the schedule the last couple of weeks. If we play our game, we have a good chance of coming away with a win."
The Cougars, ranked No. 6 in Class A, is led by senior quarterback Shawn Skovron, who has thrown for over 1,000 yards this season.
"We can't allow Skovron to throw the ball all over the field on us," Rapp said. "And we can't let him get out and run us, either. Our defense is going to have to watch where he's at the entire game."
The Mountain Lions will counter with senior quarterback Derek Nestor, who has over 1,300 yards of total offense this season, Running backs Austin Zirk, Mikhail Lewis and Zach Armstrong will look to compliment Nestor.
"Tucker County has a lot of skilled players and they're very deep," Williams. "Our main goal is to try and stop Derek Nestor."
The contest will also feature steady crop of receivers on both sides. Tucker's Nathaniel Goldstein and Tyler Snyder will be Nestor's top targets, while Skovron will look to hook up with his top threats, Josh Parker and Cole Collier.
"We have to be aware of Tucker County's passing game, because they have some very good receivers," Williams said. "We also need our receivers to step up for us."
The Cougars are coming off a 39-18 win over Pendleton County last Friday in Baker. The Mountain Lions defeated Southern (Md.) 41-13 in Parsons the same night.
Kickoff is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.