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COUNTY CLASH — Tuscola’s marching band lines up on the field at the Haywood County Clash.

The Tuscola Mountaineers have known for weeks now that their football season would take place between February and April. Now, they know who they’ll play — and when.

The WMAC conference has released its schedule, including the Mountaineers’ seven-game slate. With the conference adopting a “conference games plus one” model, the Mounties will start at Pisgah on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, and wrap up at A.C. Reynolds on Friday, April 9.

“It makes things a little bit easier mentally,” said Tuscola head coach Chris Brookshire. “Now you know who to prepare for, when you’re going to have them. Everybody on our schedule’s got a good football team. That part is not going to be easy, but the good part is that you know who you’re playing.”

When the North Carolina High School Athletic Association came out with a seven-game football season, the biggest question locally was whether or not there would be nonconference games.

The answer to that question would determine if the Tuscola-Pisgah game would be played this year. With the WMAC’s format, any fears of a year off for the Haywood County Clash were put to rest.

“It’s a huge deal for Haywood County,” Brookshire said. “It’s a huge part of all these kids’ lives. Knowing that they’re going to get that opportunity to play the game, we’re tickled to death. I don’t think that this place could function without having that opportunity every year. It’s such a big deal, and there’s a whole lot that goes into more than just football. Community pride, restaurants, community, the mill, all the businesses around town, there’s a whole lot of pride that goes into it.”

Tuscola’s full schedule is as follows:

Feb. 26 @ Pisgah

March 5 @Asheville

March 12 vs. North Henderson

March 19 vs. Erwin

March 26 vs. West Henderson

April 2 @ North Buncombe

April 9 @ A.C. Reynolds

The Mountaineers have some tough teams to face, and a three-game gauntlet to finish the season. But the team now has ample time to prepare, and knows exactly who they’ll face.

“We got some good things that happened on it,” Brookshire said. “Obviously you’ve got to beat the good teams in your conference to win it, so we definitely got that. There’s a couple of games that we wish we had, but obviously everybody’s got to give and take a little bit. Knowing that we were still going to get an opportunity to play Pisgah and keep that tradition alive was definitely more important than how our conference games go out.”

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