Football is officially here in Dickson County.
Friday night, Creek Wood plays at Dickson County at 7 pm for a year of bragging rights. The Red Hawks have won the last three games in the series, which started in 2009.
First-year Dickson County Coach Jeff Tomlinson knows the emotions attached to the inter-county rivalry well. He was on the sidelines for that first historic meeting – except he was wearing Creek Wood colours.
“It’s exciting for me to be on this side and be part of it again, and these kids are chomping at the bit,” said Tomlinson, who was an assistant coach under former Red Hawk coach Chuck Daniel.
On the Creek Wood sidelines, the Red Hawks have had more consistency with five-year Head Coach Houston Thiel again leading the team. Creek Wood, which competes in Region 5-4A, will be looking to bounce back from last year’s 4-6 season after making the playoffs the previous season.
“We were relatively young last year. We only had four seniors that really contributed consistently,” Thiel said. “This year, we are up around 20 guys who are seniors that are going to be playing a lot of ball for us.”
“They’ve been in games and know what it takes to win, and the things that will get you beat,” Thiel added.
Creek Wood will again focus on its three primary goals every season: Win the first game of the year; achieve a winning record in Region 5-4A; and make the playoffs and then advance in the postseason.
Thiel said his players are “fired up and ready” for the first game. He pointed to Sam England and Luke Grantham as top contributors as well as quarterback Eathon Donaldson and sophomore receivers Keon Robertson and Jayden Elliot.
Thiel said Donaldson can build on a “lot of game experience last year.”
“I am really excited to see him lead the offense,” Thiel said.
Thiel is also excited about the growth of senior kicker Ty Miller, who has played soccer.
“Over preseason and over the summer, he’s shown he can potentially be a weapon for us. Something we haven’t had consistently the last couple years,” Thiel said.
The Cougars, who finished 2-8 last year and compete in Region 6-6A, are looking for their first winning record in nine seasons. Tomlinson said the Cougars have adjusted to changes in the program, and are headed towards more success.
“They enjoy coming to practice every day and I can see this culture has changed,” Tomlinson said. “They are eager to start changing things around here and I think we are on the right track.”
Tomlinson said on-the-field scheming will also have a new look this year.
“We will be more of a spread option look,” said Tomlinson, adding that the Cougar quarterback will have a “read on every play, whether it’s a pass or a run.”
That signal caller for Dickson County is senior Colbey Lamberth, who committed to Eastern Kentucky University this summer.
“He’s got a strong arm and he’s a great leader and he works hard. He’s not just a leader because of how well he plays football,” Tomlinson said. “He’s a leader because he’s respected by his teammates and the way he carries himself. He’s a very selfless person.”
The Dickson County team is having fun, Tomlinson said. But they also know when to focus.
“They enjoy what we are doing here. They cut up and have a good time,” Tomlinson said. “We like to enjoy each other’s company as coaches and as players.”
“We tell them right up front we are going to enjoy this together but there are times when we are on the practice field, it’s time to go to work,” he added. “We all have to put on our work boots and get out there and get ready to go.”
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