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Munford-Covington game Friday highlights opening night

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Brighton's Malik Matthews knifes his way through the St. Benedict defense during jamboree action Friday night at Munford High School. Brighton, Covington, Munford and Tipton-Rosemark each open up the 2014 football season tomorrow night. Photo by Jeff Ireland

What: Covington vs. Munford

Where: Covington

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last season: Covington won 29-8

Opening night

What: Brighton vs. Carver

Where: Brighton

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last year: Brighton won 59-6

What: Tipton-Rosemark vs.

Tupelo Christian

Where: Rosemark

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last year: TRA won 42-0

At this point, Marty Wheeler and J.R. Kirby are probably tired of talking about their season opener Friday night in Covington.

It's pretty well documented that Kirby, Munford's first-year head coach, served as an assistant at Covington under Wheeler when the Chargers advanced to the state semifinals in 2011 and the title game a season later.

When ball is kicked off tomorrow night, that subplot will be forgotten by the players and coaches and the game will be decided by runs, passes, tackles, penalties, etc.

Nevertheless, as the game approaches, it's hard to believe it won't be in the back of the minds of two head coaches who will be looking to go 1-0 at the expense of their former co-worker.

"I'll be honest with you," Wheeler said. "At this point, we'll give Munford their due attention for sure this week, but we really need to focus on what we need to do get better. We will spend the week on both areas."

"It's a rivalry," Kirby said. "It dates back, but it's not about me. It's not about Coach Wheeler. It's about these kids."

The teams are coming off seasons that could not be much different.

Covington went undefeated in district play, won eight games and earned a home playoff game.

Munford, meanwhile, won just two games and saw its coach suspended before he resigned midway through season.

But on the field, the two teams figure to have some similarities.

Both teams will be breaking in new quarterbacks (Malcolm Taylor at Covington and Jacob Ross at Munford) and will deploy a style that focuses on running the ball and playing solid defense.

At Friday night's jamboree, Munford's offensive line lined up with very tight splits and ran the ball a lot right up the middle.

Covington showed a little bit of a different look with Taylor lining up in a shotgun several times, but the play selection was still run-heavy, as is Covington's tradition.

There's little doubt the two coaches and friends held some things back at the jamboree. That doesn't figure to be the case Friday night.

"We're going to get their best shot and they're going to get our best shot," Kirby said. "We just hope to come out the winner. The thing is, it will be emotional. I can't say it won't. I know a lot of those guys. I'm still close friends with some of them, but there's no bones about it. There won't be any phone calls this week. Come 7:30, no doubt they're the enemy."

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