When North Murray and Dalton meet next Friday, it will mark the first time in over a decade that Dalton has faced a team from Murray County.
Gone are the days of the Indians and the Catamounts being the biggest show in town for one fall Friday a year. The older folks remember the rivalry quite well, the younger generation may not be aware it existed at all.
The rivalry wasn’t always kind to the Indians. The two first met in 1953– it took Murray County until 1977 to notch their first win. Dalton holds a convincing series advantage at 44-9. A record that includes a forfeit by each team.
The yearly matchup became most competitive in the 1990’s. In a stretch from 1991-2000, the two teams fought to an even split at 5-wins apiece.
Both Murray County and Dalton played in region 7-AAA at the time, together they dominated the Region. During the decade, Dalton won 5 region titles and Murray County won 3.
Murray County faithful remember those days as some of the best years for Indian Football. Then Head Coach Bill Napier led the Indians to 3 region titles, a run to the quarterfinals in 2000, and a win over Dalton in 1999 that Indian fans know simply as ‘The Comeback’.
Many are wondering how this new rivalry will fare. Will the Mountaineers and Catamounts revive the emotions and competitive spirit of the past?
Only time will tell.
What is certain, is that this game will benefit both schools, teams, and communities. For those reasons, I hope this new rivalry catches on.