Friday is as personal as it gets for Madison coach Ben Rhodarmer.
Not in a vindictive way though.
Rhodarmer is a 1997 Pisgah graduate and left that Haywood County school in April after four years as an assistant to take his first football head-coaching job.
Things have worked out great for both parties since the split.
The surprising Patriots (3-1) and Colby Edwards (733 passing yards, 263 rushing yards and 14 combined touchdowns) have already won more games than they did in either the 2014 or 2015 seasons. And the Black Bears are 3-0 for the first time in six years.
Friday’s nonconference game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. in Marshall.
“I love these kids here at Madison and I love those kids over at Pisgah, too,” Rhodarmer said.
“I watched them all grow up. It’s going to be emotional.”
Speaking of emotional, the Patriots gave their fans a few heart palpitations last Friday. They rallied back after facing a 31-14 halftime deficit to win at Brevard, 47-44.
Edwards was at quarterback for the large majority of the night, but his only reception (28 yards) came as time expired for the winning touchdown. Backup Jordan Barker was the player who threw it.
Derek Gonzalez (575 yards, four touchdowns) has been a workhorse for the team with his rushing and top receivers are Dawson Coates (21 receptions for 286 yards and four touchdowns) and Elan Littrell (20 receptions for 301 yards and one touchdown).
Tackling-wise, the Patriots have fed off of Keegan Foley (10.8 per game), Logan Roberts (9.8), Clark Gray (8.8) and Austin Shelton (8.5).
Pisgah won last year’s game between these two schools, 44-0, in Canton.