Friday's season opener between rivals Hendersonville and Station Camp was almost a complete contrast to last year's 79-point game.
The one similarity was the winner.
Hendersonville's defense limited Station Camp to 165 yards of offense, and the Commandos overcame mistakes and penalties to win 17-9.
"We changed defense (to predominantly a nickel package) because we knew we had to double down on (Josh Malone)," said Hendersonville senior Ryan Ward, who had a sack and two tackles for loss. "We figured we would have a big game if the box players were getting it done."
Malone, the highly recruited Bison junior wide receiver, was limited to one catch for 22 yards and just one return for 15 yards. He had a huge game in Station Camp's loss to Hendersonville last year.
"We hoped we would learn a valuable less from last year," Hendersonville coach Bruce Hatfield said. "(Malone) made some big plays against us."
Late in the game, Hendersonville's Anthony Tate recovered a Station Camp fumble to preserve the victory.
The Bison had cut the lead to 17-9 with 4:57 remaining on Kasey Kammerzell's 30-yard field goal. They then forced Hendersonville (1-0, 1-0 District 9-AAA) to a three-and-out and got the ball back at their own 47.
However, an exchange on the first snap of the drive was fumbled.
After Station Camp (0-1, 0-1) cut the Commandos' lead to 10-6 midway through the third period, Hendersonville used a big return from Justin Orr to set up good field position, and Jeremias Elston's 13-yard pass to tight end Chad Dye set up a 5-yard scoring run by Andrew Pate.