Somebody clear out Highway A because it’s going to get real on Friday night. The Festus Tigers Varsity Football squad will be taking on their storied crosstown rivals, the Hillsboro Hawks, on November 5th in round two of the District Playoffs.
The Tigers, after a 5-4 season, didn’t have the luxury of a bye in the first round this year, but they made the most of their first playoff game. They absolutely trounced Sikeston 48-6 in Festus last week, and have strung back to back wins together for the first time since week four.
The Tigers’ season has been one frustration and elation. They’ve had five remarkable victories that showcased their immense talent and execution, but they also have four heart-breaking, fourth quarter, final-play losses. The Festus players will tell you that those were all winnable games and that they could very easily be 9-0 this season.
Sadly, that’s not the case, but the season isn’t over yet. The game script the Tigers have rolled out the last two weeks has been a winning formula, and fans should look for them to repeat that strategy against Hillsboro. A strong combination of an air and running attack, coupled with a ball-hawking defense, has served them well and should make this matchup a close one.
The Hawks on the other hand, had a middling season in 2020 that was truly a story of peaks and valleys, but this year is another story altogether. Last year Festus won 41-26 in the lone matchup of the two rivals, but in 2021 the Hawks flipped the script. They are 8-1 on the year, earned a first round bye and bested the Tigers in their head-to-head challenge in week five with a last second 34-29 victory. Hillsboro also holds the edge over the previous decade, going 10-4 vs the Tigers.
These two teams always gear up to play against each other regardless of the circumstances. Just think how much that is intensified with this being the second round of the playoffs. The Hawks will host this one, but it’s truly anybody’s guess as to how the game will play out.
These two rivals kick off at 7 pm on Friday night in Hillsboro, and it’s sure to be a barn-burner.
Good luck Tigers!