The look on Hailey Wood’s face said it all.
With her Lady Pioneers locked in a dogfight at home against Covenant Academy, her goal was simple – to win at all costs. The mission itself wasn’t as easy, especially against a Lady Lion team looking to plant its flag as the top local team.
Wood helped Warren County rally to victory, flying around and putting her body on the line for the win. After the match, her shoulder was wrapped up, a small price to pay for keeping Warren County atop the pecking order locally.
During the match, Emma Madewell let her game do the talking. The Lady Lion leader was poised and confident, unafraid of taking on the local school with thousands more kids roaming the halls. Madewell was a star, displaying quick feet, even quicker hands and a killer instinct at the net that nearly led to a big upset.
Rising stakes, two veteran leaders giving their all, young players finding their way to contribute - the match was everything you’d want from a local rivalry.
Covenant and Boyd have started facing off in the last few years, but usually Warren County is out of their league – literally. Covenant and Boyd play in the Middle Tennessee Athletic Conference, fueling their natural rivalry while competing in the league standings. Warren County, on the other hand, plays in the TSSAA.
The three programs likely won’t ever be on equal footing, but it’s fun when games like this occur to add a little extra incentive on both sides.
The first iteration of this happened a few years back, when Warren County and Boyd met on the basketball court. At the time, Chris Sullens was coaching the Broncos and proclaimed his group the best in the county. In the loser’s bracket of a Christmas tournament, the Pioneers put together their best game of the season, dismantling the Broncos to assure their local standing.
Sullens is leading the Pioneers now. Perhaps one day he’ll get the chance to snuff out another challenger to the county throne.
The best chance to fuel a local rivalry would be if the school system built another high school, spreading the nearly 2,000 kids currently at WCHS over two locations.
County pride would be on the line every time those two schools matched up. And even better, there would always be a local winner.
Winning is always fun, but taking home a victory in a bitter rivalry game is what makes sports great.