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Oneida, Hampton prepare for 13th meeting all time

When Oneida and Hampton get together Friday evening at Jim May Stadium, it’ll be the 13th time the two programs have met on the gridiron. 

It seems like so much more.

The Indians and the Bulldogs last faced off last November, when Hampton came to Oneida and eliminated the Indians from the postseason with a 28-14 first round win.

The year before that, Oneida went to the Bulldogs’ place and bounced them from the playoffs with a 14-12 win in the second round.

Through the years, Oneida and Hampton have become common opponents in the postseason, and the games have almost always been close.

The series dates back to 1982, when Oneida picked up a 24-6 win over the Bulldogs in the first round of the playoffs.

The two schools wouldn’t meet again until 1993, when Oneida moved up to Class 2A. That year, they again met in the first round of the playoffs, and the Indians won 27-0.

The following year brought the same result. In the first round of the Class 2A playoffs, Oneida defeated Hampton 35-12.

Each of those first three games saw the Indians coached by Jim May.

That was the last time the two schools played until 2006, when the two teams met as Class 1A teams in the first round of the playoffs. That year, Hampton started a three-game winning streak against the Indians with a 27-2 win on a bitterly cold night in Carter County. It was Jim Burchfield’s final game as the Indians’ head coach. Hampton would eventually lose to Friendship Christian in the Class 1A semifinals.

The two teams met twice in 2007. First, the teams squared off in Oneida in the regular season, as Tony Lambert’s first stint as the Indians’ head coach began. Hampton won that game, 14-12.

The Indians went on to a 6-4 season, and defeated Unaka 27-0 in the opening round of the playoffs. 

But the first round win was costly for Oneida. Quarterback Torrey Slaven went down with a season-ending injury. And, the next week, Hampton defeated the Indians 17-3 in Elizabethton. The Bulldogs would eventually advance to the Class 1A semifinals once again before losing to South Pittsburg.

The 2008 season saw Oneida and Hampton square off again in the regular season — this time in Carter County — and the Indians began a five-game winning streak that is the longest for either team in the series. Oneida won 26-14 that night, en route to an undefeated regular season. The two teams didn’t meet in the playoffs that year; Hampton was routed by Greenback in the opening round, 49-7. But Oneida would return the favor a couple of weeks later, ousting Greenback to the tune of 50-21 in the semifinals. The Indians’ run came to an end in the semifinals against eventual state champion Trousdale County the following week.

The next time the two teams met in the playoffs was 2011. Oneida won that Veterans Day showdown in Elizabethton, 20-16. It was a major upset that sent the Indians to the quarterfinals in John Brewster’s final season as head coach.

With Tony Lambert back at the helm again, Oneida and Hampton played another home-and-home series in 2013 and 2014. Oneida won both of them, picking up a 31-14 win in 2013 and winning 14-8 in 2014. The two teams did not meet in the playoffs either of those years, and would not meet in the playoffs again until 2019.

In 2019, Oneida won 14-12 to advance to the quarterfinals against Meigs County, where the Indians lost 49-21. Meigs County would go on to fall to Peabody in the state championship game, 27-16.

In 2020, Hampton picked up a 28-14 first round win in Elizabethton, before losing to Meigs County 49-34 the following week. Meigs County again lost to Peabody in the championship game, 35-13.

In 12 games against Hampton, Oneida owns the overall record, 8-4. In eight postseason meetings, the Indians have a 5-3 lead.

The most lopsided game in the series was that 1993 playoff game, which the Indians won 27-0. Hampton’s biggest win in the series was the 27-2 playoff win in 2006.

The closest game in the series was Hampton’s 14-12 regular season win in 2007, and the Indians’ playoff win by the same score in 2019.

Jimmy May will be making his first playoff appearance against Hampton as a head coach on Friday. He’s 4-1 against the Bulldogs as the Indians’ offensive coordinator.

Friday’s game will kick off at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. The IH Sports Network will have the broadcast, with the T&T Carwash Pregame Show beginning at 6 p.m.

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