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First-ever Hillcrest home game a sight to see for all involved

First-ever Hillcrest home game a sight to see for all involved
In his 39 years in the education/coaching business in Obion County, Robert Orsborne thought he’d seen just about everything.

One of the few things he hadn’t came into focus Tuesday night.

“I never imagined we’d play a game on this field, a real game,” the Hillcrest administrator said while admiring a huge crowd that turned out for the school’s first-ever on-campus football game against Lake Road.

Osborne, who currently serves as assistant principal and the Cougars’ athletic director, beamed with pride at the event that drew an estimated 400 people and marked the second such instance this fall that an Obion County elementary school had hosted a game at its own facility for the first time.

Like earlier in the year when Black Oak did the same, there was no permanent seating, lighting or scoreboard, but the enthusiasm that marked the occasion was unbridled from those who sat in lawn chairs, blankets or temporary bleachers from a hill above the field, and cheered for either Hillcrest or visiting county foe Lake Road.

“It’s actually set up perfectly for us to have games here,” claimed Orsborne, who previously coached football and basketball at Hillcrest —  a school that opened its doors 21 years ago and essentially took the place of Troy Elementary.

“You can look around and see all the people here and I think there’s a sense of community pride to have your games at the same place where your kids go to school. And I think if you were to put this same crowd over at (Obion) Central, where we’ve always played our games before, they’d get a little lost because that place is so big. There wouldn’t be nearly as much excitement, I don’t think.”

The movement to have Obion County feeder school system teams host their games was brought about partly by the overuse of the facilities at OCCHS, which has action on its turf as many as four nights a week sometimes, along with the Saturday pee-wee leagues.

Lake Road and Ridgemont, the other two county schools currently without a field readily available, are expected to have those in place next fall.

Longtime jayvee icon Charles Morris, who won a combined 10 Obion County School System titles and 161 games in all while patrolling the sidelines at both Hillcrest and Troy over a span of 33 seasons, was among the many in attendance at his old “stomping grounds” to see history made at what had previously only been the Cougars’ practice field.

“I figured sooner or later they’d get around to having a game here and I think it’s a good thing,” Morris said. “I’m sure it means something to the kids to have a place to call your own and to get to play your games there.”

The Cougars’ season-ending 20-6 loss to LR was the only downer of the night for the Hillcrest faithful.

Austin Pitts ran for 75 yards and the Cougars’ only touchdown, while Chance Robbins had eight tackles for Hillcrest. Hunter Quinn, Tyler Trull and Pitts were in on six hits apiece on defense.

Lake Road did not report its statstics from the game to The Messenger.

Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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