Cumberlands, UPIKE set for Mid-South Conference showdown Saturday night

(WYMT) - Everyone knows how good the SEC is in football.

"You know, there's only like three top conferences in the world, in the U.S.A, and that's the AFC, NFC and the SEC," said Jojo Kemp, Cumberlands Graduate Assistant, and former Kentucky running back.

Kemp knows all that all too well, but what about the Mid-South Conference? The NAIA conference, of course, has a smaller following than arguably the best conference in college football. But every week, the MSC provides a new challenge with six ranked teams, including No. 13 Cumberlands.

"This conference has been, you know, really fun and, you know, I've seen a lot of talent - being on the sideline, watching guys compete," said Kemp.

The Patriots will travel almost three hours across the mountains to take on UPIKE in a match-up that could put them into the NAIA playoffs on Saturday.

The Bears know how challenging the conference can be as well, with the squad already playing three ranked MSC opponents so far.

"Our schedule hasn't been the easiest to say the least," said UPIKE football head coach Al Holland, Jr. "We really played some tough teams and some top teams in the country."

"Those guys over their in Pikeville - it's a tough group of guys. Those are guys that are going to play until the whistle blows, so we have to go out there and match that same intensity, match that same energy," said Kemp.

Though the Bears face a stiff test in the Patriots, Coach Holland hopes that the UPIKE home crowd will play a factor in the outcome.

"Our fans have been very supportive, whether we've played on the road and traveled with us really well, but we got great support here at home," said Holland.

The game kicks off Saturday night at 6 p.m. in Pikeville.

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