Hammond, Smith put friendship aside for this week

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2008

MEADVILLE — Trent Hammond and Chris Smith have been good friends ever since they coached together at McComb. Not a week goes by where they don’t call each other a couple of times.

Well, almost every week. This week, the phone has been silent, because Hammond’s Franklin County Bulldogs (5-1, 1-1) face Smith’s North Pike Jaguars (2-4, 1-1) in an important Region 7-3A showdown Friday night at Louie Mullins Memorial Stadium in Meadville.

“It’s one of those things where you have to put your friendship aside for one week,” Hammond said. “Chris and I talk once or twice during the week, but this week, neither one of us has called the other one. You have to be a football coach and they’re the people you’re playing against. It’s a very interesting game for me.”

Email newsletter signup

Click the following link for the Democrat Sports Watch’s preview of the Oct. 3, 2008 prep football games, featuring Huntington, Trinity
and Vidalia. Watch Democrat Sports Watch now.

North Pike defensive coordinator Billy Coon also coached with Hammond and Smith when the three were at McComb.

Hammond knows Smith is facing a rebuilding project at North Pike, but he is very worried that his team might overlook the Jaguars.

“That’s the biggest fear you have as a coach,” Hammond said. “North Pike has some athletes that can beat you and have a great coaching staff. You worry that one day they’ll put it together and you don’t want to be the one they put it together against.”

With Franklin County having one region loss already, the Bulldogs can’t afford to overlook North Pike with South Pike looming next week.

“If we were to overlook anybody, it would be a tough thing for us,” Hammond said. “I’ve just been trying to tell the kids that North Pike has been playing hard. They haven’t been putting wins on the board, but they’ve played with extreme effort, and eventually that effort will turn into wins.”