While some doubt was expressed last week about whether the Hermitage Hustlin’ Hermits would be able to field enough players to meet Spring Hill for eight-on-eight football tonight, a call to the Hermitage schools office Thursday afternoon yielded the answer. Hermitage’s varsity team (0-0) will indeed travel the 103 miles west on highway 278 to play the 4-0 Bears.
The game against Hermitage is the first of the conference season for both teams. It will be also the first game of the season for Hermitage, which is part of the challenge for Spring Hill going into tonight according to Bears Coach Greg Smith: “We don’t have any idea what they bring to the table. We have worked off of last year’s schemes they used for our preparation week.”
Smith said he anticipates Hermitage will be speedy, but that it also will benefit from a stable of last year’s younger players. “Last year, their junior high [team] was good and had some dynamic players we expect to see on the field Friday night,” he said.
Another difficulty this week for Spring Hill concerns the toll four games in four weeks and being a team from the country has taken: “The injury department has become a concern for us at this point. We are a bit banged up and have four players dealing with some issues. These range from being kicked by a horse to a hand that was smashed between two helmets in a game. These are affecting playing time for a few starters, but we feel in time they will be back to full strength.”
Asked whether the team had come along the way he predicted at the season’s start, Smith provided a full and revealing answer: “Going into the season we felt the defense would be a strong point for us, and that has proven to be true. We are playing good defense right now and we feel it must get better for us to reach our goals as a team.
“One pleasant surprise is the play of our special teams units. We have developed a kicker for the point after attempt try. This is a very promising aspect we are excited about. Along with the PAT unit our punting and kicking duties done by Cade Watson has been spectacular. We are very proud of what he has done to make those units weapons for us. We want to win the third phase of the game which is the special teams play and now we feel if we continue to improve there it gives us an added advantage.”
Smith said he also shares in the enjoyment the many attendees at Spring Hill’s games have had while watching this year’s team. “This team is a lot of fun to watch, and we ask the fans to come out in full strength to help us make our stadium a hard place for opponents to play. Our student section has been really good this year and gets better every week. This year’s team has had some of the best pep rallies I have ever seen, so a big thank you to the cheerleaders and cheer coaches.”
Smith also wishes to thank several groups and individuals in the area for their support and, not least, for team meals. “Thanks to Bethany Baptist Church, Unity Baptist Church, Spring Hill Christian Church, Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Church of Christ of Hope, Fernando Zacarius, and [State Representative] Danny Watson. Additionally, thank you to the community, parents, administration and school board for their support, and all they are helping with to make the athletic programs something we are all proud of.”
Hermitage at Spring Hill kicks off tonight at 7:00 p.m. on Spring Hill’s field.