Mayfield, Tilghman revisit century-long rivalry

Keith Jaco/THE MAYFIELD MESSENGER

Senior quarterback Jayden Stinson (14) drops back for a pass against Hopkinsville last week.

The most historic, ongoing rivalry in western Kentucky high school football will be revived on Friday night as the Mayfield Cardinals travel to Paducah, to take on the Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado.

Both Mayfield and Tilghman enter Week 3 sporting a 2-0 record, adding fuel to the fire of a potential upset for the Blue Tornado.

Achieving the feat of an upset will be no easy challenge for Paducah Tilghman though, as the Cardinals have held an enormous advantage over the Blue Tornado as of late.

Mayfield has dominated the season series since 2005, winning 13 straight decisions while leading the all-time head-to-head record 49-46-10.

Head coach Joe Morris says his team is excited for the opportunity to revisit the 106 year-old rivalry with Tilghman this week but believes team preparation will remain the same.

"This is one of those rivalries that is over 100 years old. It's a fun week of school, our kids get really excited about it. The history of this rivalry is a great rivalry because of how close it is in wins and losses, and we're lucky to be on top of that. We respect Tilghman and our kids respect Tilghman and their program. Their kids are athletic, they play hard and they want to beat Mayfield, but Mayfield also wants to beat them.

We don't prepare any differently though, we just have to go out there, execute and play a mistake-free football game."

Tilghman will be hungry to break the Cardinal's win streak and will have solid help in making that dream become reality.

Senior running and defensive backs Damien Ford and Jayden Freeman have led the Blue Tornado offense to victory in the early season with their explosive play.

Ford has paved the way, amassing 284 rushing yards on 30 carries for six touchdowns, while Freeman has added an impressive stat line of his own.

Freeman has been productive in the rushing and receiving game, totaling 120 rushing yards on 17 carries for five touchdowns as well as hauling in 134 yards on six receptions with one touchdown.

The biggest concern for the Cardinals this week will be keeping these Tilghman running back's production low as well as keeping their composure against a hot Blue Tornado team.

Morris says he's warned his team about how to handle a matchup like Tilghman.

"I've told our guys with all the games we've won and being ranked number one in the state, people in western Kentucky are going to want to beat you. You're going to get that team's best game, I don't care who you're playing, they're going to try and knock you off."

Following last week's narrow win over Hopkinsville, Morris is adamant about his team tightening up and being more consistent.

"We've got to be more consistent on both sides of the ball and we have to get off the field on third down," Morris said. "I've told them, you can't just go out and play the first half and you can't go out and only play the second half. You've got to be ready mentally and physically throughout."

The Cardinals will hit the road tonight to take on the Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado at 7 p.m. at McRight Field.