By Carey Phillips

 

Mountain Six Conference schedules for most Smoky Mountain sports in the revised calendar for the 2020-21 school year have been announced.

Non-conference opponents for football and basketball have also been released.

Like everything else in this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the football will seem strange. Missing will be perennial opponents Swain and Tuscola.

With Tuscola in a nine-team conference and trying to find a way to play rival Pisgah in a non-conference game, it was a foregone conclusion that the Mountaineers would not be on the schedule.

Every year since SM was founded by the consolation of Sylva-Webster and Cullowhee in 1988, Tuscola has been an opponent. The last time the Mounties did not play Sylva-Webster was 1971.

The rivalry with Swain has gone on even longer. Football teams from Sylva and Bryson City have played each other most if not every year since high school football came to Jackson County in the 1920s.

“It’s disappointing, especially thinking about the kids,” SM Athletic Director Adam Phillips said. “They have grown up their whole lives for the most part playing against each other. It’s disappointing and frustrating.”

Open dates for Swain and Cherokee in their conference didn’t match up with when SM could play non-conference games.

The non-league games will be at Madison and home against Mitchell.

“Mitchell was gracious to come to our place, and we owed a game at Madison,” Phillips said.

He left open the possibility of a football scrimmage against Swain, Tuscola or Cherokee.

Conference tournaments will be played in basketball and volleyball. Playing a league tourney will reduce the number of regular season games allowed from 14 to 12.

Phillips said the difficulty of scheduling non-conference games as well as a desire to bring money into the conference led to the tournaments being on the schedule.

Teams will not be able to qualify for the state playoffs through the conference tourneys. Regular season games will determine which teams go to the playoffs.

With two non-conference games to be added, the volleyball schedule is as follows:

Nov. 16 – Pisgah; 19 – at Hendersonville; 24 – Brevard.

Dec. 1 – East Henderson; 3 – at Franklin; 8 – at Pisgah; 10 – Hendersonville; 15 – at Brevard; 17 – at East Henderson; 22 – Franklin.

Jan. 4 – Conference tournament semifinals at East Henderson; 6 – Conference tournament finals at East Henderson.

The basketball schedule is as follows:

Jan. 7 – Mitchell; 9 – at Mitchell; 13 – Pisgah; 15 – at Hendersonville; 19 – Brevard; 22 – East Henderson; 26 – at Franklin; 29 – at Pisgah.

Feb. 2 – Hendersonville; 5 – at Brevard; 9 – at East Henderson; 12 – Franklin; 16 – Conference tournament semifinals at SM; 18 – Conference tournament finals at SM.

The football schedule is as follows:

Feb. 26 – at Madison.

March 5 – Mitchell; 12 – Pisgah; 19 – at Hendersonville; 26 – Brevard.

April 2 – East Henderson; 9 – at Franklin.

The men’s soccer conference schedule is as follows:

Feb. 8 – Pisgah; 10 – at Hendersonville; 15 – Brevard; 17 – East Henderson; 22 – at Franklin; 24 – at Pisgah.

March 1 – Hendersonville; 3 – at Brevard; 8 – at East Henderson; 10 – Franklin.

The women’s soccer conference schedule is as follows:

March 22 – Pisgah; 24 – at Hendersonville.

April 5 – Brevard; 7 – East Henderson; 12 – at Franklin; 14 – at Pisgah; 19 – Hendersonville; 21 – at Brevard; 26 – at East Henderson; 28 – Franklin.

The softball conference schedule is as follows:

March 18 – Pisgah; 23 – at Hendersonville; 25 – Brevard; 30 – East Henderson.

April 13 – at Franklin; 15 – at Pisgah; 20 – Hendersonville; 22 – at Brevard; 27 – at East Henderson; 29 – Franklin.

The baseball conference schedule is as follows:

May 11 – Pisgah; 14 – at Hendersonville; 18 – Brevard; 21 – East Henderson; 25 – at Franklin; 28 – at Pisgah.

June 1 – Hendersonville; 4 – at Brevard; 8 – at East Henderson; 10 – Franklin.

The tennis conference schedule is as follows:

May 3 – Pisgah; 5 – at Hendersonville; 10 – Brevard; 12 – East Henderson; 17 – at Franklin; 19 – at Pisgah; 24 – Hendersonville; 26 – at Brevard.

June 2 – at East Henderson; 7 – Franklin; 10 – Conference tournament at Brevard College.