J.R. Tidwell/FCT Phil Campbell head coach Jason Hill takes his team through a practice in preparation for the upcoming 2012 season.

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County schools meet for first time

Published 6:00am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The city of Phil Campbell and the town of Tharptown are only about 18 miles apart.

Since Tharptown began a high school a few years ago the two institutions have had teams in different sports compete against each other.

But never in the sport of football during the regular season. At least, not yet.

The Phil Campbell Bobcats will travel to take on the Tharptown Wildcats tomorrow night in the first-ever meeting of the two teams during the regular season since Tharptown began playing football in 2006. The two teams have played each other before, but only in jamboree and spring games.

This will be Tharptown’s first home game, and the Wildcats will be looking to better their 0-10 record from last year.

The Bobcats are also looking to turn things around. They have not had a winning season in recent memory and will be looking to improve upon last season’s 2-8 mark.

“It’s really kind of neat.,” Bobcats head coach Jason Hill said.

“I know it’s pretty close, and I know [Tharptown] is excited. They have a really good, athletic quarterback a really good receiver from everything that we’ve heard.

“I know they’re going to be really excited to play their first home game. They are looking just like us to build on last year and try and improve from last year.

“They are going to look at this as their first step in doing that, and so are we.

“As far as it being a county rival, I know that it’s important to a lot of people around here, and I want us to go out and have the best showing we can and put our best product on the field.

“It being an in-county thing, I know there’s a lot of people that live side-by-side and in the same neighborhoods. A lot of that means more to the people in the communities than to the kids.

“As far as the kids go it’s just a chance for them to go out and improve, and they’re going to do what they can do every week to get better.

“That’s all I’m challenging them to do. It is exciting to be playing my first [regular season] game against an in-county opponent.”

Tharptown head coach Bill Smith, who has coached at the majority of the schools in Franklin County, will be leading the Wildcats against Phil Campbell, a team he coached from 1992 to 1995.

“I’ve coached everywhere,” Smith said. All of the games come one at a time.”

Smith is looking forward to the two county opponents playing each other.

“We’re excited to be playing against another county school,” Smith said. “We have played them in the spring before. We did that the first two years I was here.

“I’m excited. I like for these county rivalries to get started. They’re a 2A and have a senior ball club and we have a lot of young kids playing in key positions, so it’s going to be a big challenge to us. They’re trying to rebuild their program too and get on the right foot with it.”

The game is scheduled for Thursday night at 7 p.m., although rain from a tropical storm is possible.

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