By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County is hoping for a decided homefield advantage against Middle Tennessee Christian in the season opener for both teams at Schwartz Field Friday.
But home has been anything but friendly for the Lions in recent years. In fact, Cannon County will be looking to end a 21-game home losing streak when it faces the Cougars in a 7 p.m. kickoff. Cannon County’s last home win was a 35-7 victory against Upperman in 2009.
“We are excited to get on the field against an opponent and play,” said Lions second-year Head Coach T.J. Daniel. “You would always like more time to prepare but it’s time to go and our kids are excited.”
In order to chalk up a win in its season opener, Cannon County must stop Middle Tennessee Christian quarterback Justin Winn.
The 6-foot-1 senior was the District 9-A Offensive Player of the Year in 2013 and returns most of his arsenal in 2014.
Winn completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,927 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. The dual-threat quarterback also ran for 418 yards.
“He is a good, good quarterback,” Daniel said. “We have to execute and take care of our assignments. You can’t afford breakdowns against a player of his caliber.”
Cannon County has enjoyed success in the preseason scrimmages and the players are looking to parlay the promise into a positive start in 2014.
“It’s a new season and we are excited about what lies ahead,” senior Ethan Smith said. “We can’t worry about things we can’t control. We just have to focus on what we need to do to have success against MTCS. They have a lot of players back and so do we. It should be a good test for us.”
The Lions play three of their first four games at Schwartz Field and four of their first six.
“We definitely need to protect our home field,” junior Bo Bryson said. “We need to work hard to get off to a good start.”