PA

Pillow Academy’s Juan Carlos Hernandez puts his foot into the ball on a kickoff. The Mustangs open District 1-5A play Friday night at home against archrival Washington School.

Tripp McCarty finally snapped a five-game losing skid to archrival Washington School, and Pillow Academy has held the upper hand in PA’s longest, bitterest rivalry since 2016.

It’s one of the top rivalries in the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools, according to McCarty.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have the bragging rights in this one, and we don’t want that to change,” he said. “Both schools are close in proximity and have been in the same division forever. It’s just a natural rivalry because all the kids know each other and some of the parents do as well.

“This game always brings out the best in both teams. It’s one I know they have circled every year, and it’s one that we do too.”

McCarty’s Mustangs look to make it five straight against the Generals Friday at Bill Davis Field. It will be the District 1-5A  opener for  Pillow, which is 3-0 after routing Canton 45-0 last week.

Since that win in 2016, the Mustangs beat the Generals three more times, including two times last season — 33-29 in the regular season and 34-7 in the first round of the playoffs.

The key to PA keeping this streak going in the rivalry?

“Just making plays in a big-time atmosphere, a playoff-like atmosphere,” McCarty said. “We’ve done a good job of limiting their big plays in recent years while creating enough explosive offensive plays on our end.”

Washington, under the direction of first-year coach Greg Wallace, is coming off a 34-7 rout of Bayou in the conference opener for both teams. The Mustangs have been impressive through their first three games.

The Mustang defense — led by senior defensive end Josh Moor, senior linebacker Sam Harris and junior safety Christian Belk — has been dominant from the start.

The unit held 6A member Jackson Academy in check in Week 1 and has only gotten better since. The Mustang defense hasn’t allowed a point in 10 quarters of football. JA’s only second-half score in the opener came off a kickoff return.

Offensively, the Mustangs have been quite explosive in the first three games. A lot of that has to with the fact that McCarty has a lot of weapons to spread the ball around to. Twelve different players have scored offensive TDs.

nContact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or bburrus@gwcommonwealth.com.

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