Zyaire Hughes had trouble falling asleep the night before McCracken County's first football game.
The Mustangs quarterback lay in bed, thoughts of how much he wanted to play Paducah Tilghman racing through his mind. His Lone Oak team had struggled against the Blue Tornado, so he hoped the Aug. 24 game would be his chance to beat Tilghman.
Hughes said he finally fell asleep around 6 a.m. Mustangs wide receiver and kick returner Pooh Jones added he only slept about four hours that night.
No worries. The crowd at the next day's game was enough to keep anyone awake. An estimated 5,000 people squeezed into Marquette Stadium, the overflow fans standing around the field.
Hughes remembers the sound as the Mustangs ran onto the field for the first time.
"It's a huge adrenaline rush," he said. "I felt my heart was beating 100 mph. 'I've got to calm down.' Once I calmed down, I started to get the feel of it."
The Mustangs jumped to a 6-0 lead after Hughes rushed for the first touchdown in program history. Jones added a 71-yard punt return in the second quarter to give his team a 14-3 lead going into halftime.
Tilghman then scored 21 second-half points to win 24-23 as some of the Mustangs' stars struggled. Hughes went 17 of 32 for 252 passing yards but threw two interceptions. The team gained just 46 yards on 32 rushes.
"We had a lot of mistakes that we should've have," Jones said. "I just felt like the team chemistry wasn't all the way there. We were all coming into the school. We had little time to do everything. (But) we got better going through the season."
Added Mustangs coach Jack Haskins: "It was an unbelievable show. It was something you walked away from and remember the rest of your life. The only thing wrong was we lost."
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