Midway football Larry Burchett had no complaints about the trip to Tennessee. The people were friendly, the accommodations were fine, and the post-game barbecue spread was delicious.
The football game, on the other hand…
After a nine-hour bus ride and just a couple of hours to rest, Midway took on Middle Tennessee Christian in its unusual first game of the season. The Vikings lost 44-6, and Burchett thought the long road trip might have taken something out of his team.
“We got tired really quick,” Burchett said. “I think the trip took its toll.”
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Midway took the nine-hour bus ride to Murfreesboro, Tenn., because it needed a first-week opponent after Osceola dropped down to eight-man football. So did Middle Tennessee Christian, which offered to pay for almost all of Midway’s expenses and put the team up in its gym.
Burchett hoped his players would get more sleep on the ride down. And instead of arriving in Murfreesboro four or five hours before game time, the Vikings didn’t get there until two hours before after getting stuck in traffic in Nashville.
“They’re a good football team, I won’t take that away from them,” Burchett said. “The first two or three series we played were pretty even, but then you could see us slowing down.”
Middle Tennessee Christian took control with a ground game featuring running back Kemari McGowan, a sophomore who rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Middle Tennessee Christian scored on four consecutive drives before halftime.
Freshman Cole Young, who threw for 126 yards, scored Midway’s lone touchdown in the fourth quarter. Midway managed only 235 yards of offense while the Vikings gave up 394 total yards.
Even with the loss, Burchett said the trip was still worthwhile for the Vikings. They learned some things about their team, and they got to see some of the country on the way down.
If they ever did this kind of thing again, Burchett said he might change the travel arrangements.
“Overall, the trip itself was kind of a neat deal,” Burchett said. “I’d do it again.”