The Murfreesboro Rattlers dropped their second to last game of the season to Foreman 69-0 last Friday night at home.
The Gators proved to be a tough matchup for the Rattlers, holding the home team to a negative 32 yards total offense for the game in not allowing a first down.
Meanwhile, the Foreman offense cruised to 418 yards of offense, scoring a touchdown on all nine of their possessions.
Isaac Carver led the Gators with 140 yards on the ground and 39 yards passing through the air along with three scores.
Defensively for the Rattlers, Jayce Humphrey accrued eight tackles, while Samuel Corson and Cody Nolen each tallied seven.
The loss sets up the final game of the season versus the also winless Dierks Outlaws, with both teams sporting a 0-9 record. Dierks was defeated 50-32 last week by Spring Hill.
“Somebody’s gotta get a win at this point,” said Murfreesboro Head Coach Marc McRae.
“We’ve both struggled this season, but we’re to the point now that one of us will come out with a win, so it will just be about doing the best we can do to prepare, just as they will, and we’ll see what happens Thursday night.”
McRae also said that it would even a little more special achieving a win over rival Dierks, as it had been “a while” to his memory that Murfreesboro had defeated the Outlaws in consecutive seasons.
Murfreesboro defeated Dierks 26-20 last season with a touchdown on the game’s final play.
“Obviously after winning it last year, if we can pull one out this year, and beat them two years in a row, it would definitely be a positive thing,” he said.
“Ending this season with a win is definitely the direction we want to end it on. After having struggles like we have this season, to end it on a winning note would definitely give it a little bit of light and [some] positivity.”
With the final game of the season falling on a Thursday night, McRae said that he didn’t feel the shortened schedule would affect either team much.
“At this point, it’s not going to be a significant difference for either team … at this point in the season, you pretty much know what you are doing, and you’re just going to try and fine tune that the best you can.”
Maxpreps.com has the Rattlers ranked two spots ahead of the Outlaws in Class AA, numbers 43 and 45 respectively.
McRae said that the team will continue their mantra of next man up, after having been bitten by the injury bug for most of the season.
“That’s how we’ve been all year, we’ve had guys hurt it seems like every single game, and that will be the same case this week. Hopefully we have some guys who can step up and fill some roles — that’s been kinda one of the things that has held us back at times this year, just trying to get over injuries, what has felt like non-stop. Every week we’ve had to play someone [in a unfamiliar] spot because of things, and we’ll have a couple out [due to injury] this week, so we’ll see.”
But, through it all, McRae expects a highly entertaining game to finish out the season.
“I’m really looking forward to our kids coming out against a team like Dierks, because I know how much the game means to both schools, so we know that we will get their best shot, so I’m looking forward to a competitive game Thursday night, and that will be as good a way to end the season as any … I’m sure that’s what our kids and their kids are expecting, so it will be good to end the year in a competitive environment.”
McRae was also very positive of the junior high Rattlers that finished with three wins on the season, all coming in the second half of their schedule.
“At the end of the year we won three out of four games, and that was a great thing for us, because we felt like we were finally putting it together with those kids, they were understanding what we were trying to accomplish and were executing it. They played hard and we saw some positive results out of that.”
He said the win over Foreman in the last game of the season exemplified the growth of the team as a whole. “Foreman is a good junior high football team [tied for first at the time to lead district play], we just went over there and for the most part outplayed them. It was a well played game by our kids and I was super proud of them to finish off the year like that. They had lost only one game all year, and we were able to come out of there with a win. I look forward to seeing them continue to grow.”
McRae said the team did not move up any ninth graders to play on the varsity level in the final two weeks of the season, rather moving them on to basketball to start preparing them for their season.
“We are finishing off the year with the guys we started with,” McRae concluded.