Well, my record is really struggling this year. The Pioneers are a much improved team, but they’ve forgotten how to play for 60-minutes. Don’t blame the coaching staff, they’ve put all they’ve got into preparing the team, The Team needs to take care of the ball. Last year the Pioneers were among the nation’s leaders in turnover margin……they’re not this year!
The Pioneers went into the Presbyterian game with a +2, they finished a -3……NOT GOOD. If the Pioneers don’t give up two fumbles on their own 15, on back-to-back series, and they don’t allow a kickoff return for a touchdown, they play the conference’s number two team to the wire, but they didn’t and the only finger you can point to is how the other team has capitalized on the PIoneers mistakes………because that’s all it has been this year, MENTAL MISTAKES. Currently the Pioneers are riding a four game losing skid and will face a team that put 51 points on the board last week against Newberry (and remember, Newberry beat Gardner-Webb 34-31….go figure!) Mars Hill. Yeah, Mars Hill! I’m not sure I’ll even know what to talk about during the game…..Mars Hill runs a backyard-style offense. Basically, just get the ball to the end zone type approach. You can’t put a lable to it so they call it the Wishbone, call what you want, I’ll call it Yard-Ball! Apparently it’s working though, they’re 2-1 in the conference and 3-2 overall, and this is a team that had to come from behind to beat the Pioneers last year.
This years game has been dubbed ” The Rock “, a new rivalry added to the conference and a game that will be played at the end of the year from now on. These two schools will be meeting for the 16th time, but the first time as conference foes. The Pioneers own a 7-6-2 record against the Lions, but Mars Hill has won five straight dating back to 1936. (In ’37 and ’38 the teams tied 0-0 and 6-6, they probably ran the wishbone back then too.) This whole “Rock” thing was started by Dom Donnelly (TC’s SID) and the Greeneville Sun’s, Joe Byrd. Good idea, but read what you want to how it truly originated, the fact is Donnelly and Byrd snuck over to Mars Hill and threw rocks through windows while yelling “The Spirit of David Crockett Lives and He IS A True Pioneer, and We’ve Got Your Former Athletic Director” I’m not sure the true Pioneer – David Crockett would approve and I know Tusculum College is not that old, as a matter of fact I’m sure Crockett was not the studying type! I do know that Ed Hoffmeyer’s a pretty decent AD, but in retrospect, they stole our President…..call it even. So, I’m not sure what Dom and Joe were doing, but they created a rivalry out of it and Mars Hill gathered the rocks and then bronzed them and now call the game …… the battle for “The Rock!”
All kidding aside, it will take more than rocks for the Pioneers to win their first conference game against Mars Hill, on the road, and during Their Homecoming! But, for all of those with questions in your mind and despite my 1-4 record this year (which, by the way is the same record as the Pioneers) Tusculum will PREVAIL. It will take a near perfect game, but that’s what they’ll get. Andy Smith takes over and a much needed running game matures even more as J’Dron London and Raymond Raines all gain over 100 yards on the ground, as the PIoneers start quick and end strong. They’ll put the game out of reach after the first half, stymying any comeback for the Lions…….49-24.
Don’t take my word for it, either listen right here on the Web Page, or tune to 1450 AM. Our pregame coverage starts at 1:45, with kickoff from Meares Field at 2:30. By the way, HEY THRILL, any chance West Va. Wesleyan has an open date next year?……..just a thought, you know we could conjure up some kind of rivalry there, like “The Battle Of The Little Debbies!”