Tae Martin was a spectator last season when Siegel traveled to Riverdale in a battle of unbeaten teams.
This year, Martin welcomes the opportunity to play at home in a rematch of ranked unbeaten teams.
“This is my senior year,” said Martin, a Siegel senior. “I don’t think I’ve finished a game against Riverdale. This is our biggest rival. I just hope I can finish it and that we can beat them.”
Second-ranked Riverdale (4-0 overall, 1-0 in 7-AAA) plays at fourth-ranked Siegel (4-0, 1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Martin sat out the 2011 contest because of a concussion sustained the week prior. He was a standout at both receiver and defensive back as a junior.
This year, he has stood out most at receiver, where he leads District 7-AAA with 17 catches for 300 yards with five touchdown receptions.
“He’s a great player and a great kid,” Riverdale coach Ron Aydelott said. “The thing is he was out, but we had Keenan Jackson and Lamar Brown both out for the game, or part of the game. The fortunate thing is that he’s back.
“He’s a difference maker and someone we’ll have to contend with. And, he’s a great free safety.
Minus Martin, Siegel fell 21-15 at Riverdale in 2011. But the Stars’ offensive personnel are clicking now. Their skilled players, minus running back Jacob Hayes, are healthy. And Hayes was held out of the Stars’ 47-7 rout of Ooltewah to give his sprained ankle another week of healing.
“I think we’ll have everyone,” Siegel coach Greg Wyant said. “We’re a little nicked up and banged up a little bit. We’ve got to get some ailments treated a little bit. For the most part, I think we’ll be all right Friday.”
Aydelott said the Warriors could be without wingback Dreco Little, who has been dealing with a dehydration issue.
While both offenses have headlined their respective squads, the defenses have also played well for both teams.
Siegel has outscored its opponents 191-21. Riverdale has outscored its opponents 179-51 through four games.
“I think both defenses are underrated,” Aydelott said. “It could be a different story. There could be a lot of points scored. But I think both defenses are solid. You don’t win games by being bad defensively.”
The game should be one of the biggest ever held at Siegel High, both in magnitude of the game and crowd.
Both teams are ranked in the top five in Class 6A in the Associated Press statewide poll. And it’s the lone game played Friday night in Murfreesboro. Blackman plays at Oakland on Thursday, and MTCS plays at Moore County.
“I want to pay some bills,” Wyant joked. “I hope everybody in the county comes out.
“It might be the biggest we’ve ever had at Siegel,” Wyant said. “It might be the biggest game in our school’s history, I don’t know. We played quite a few of them last year. It will be exciting for our kids to play in that type of atmosphere. I’m excited about that.”