MATTOON (WCIA) — Mattoon senior captain TJ Owens was on O’Brien Field in Spring 2021 when the Green Wave’s seven-game Coles County Clash win streak was broken. He still hasn’t forgotten the feeling.

“First one I was actually apart of and that was heartbreaking,” Owens said. “First loss in a longtime in the Clash for Mattoon.”

But with the rivalry trophy back in west Coles County after a win last fall, the Green Wave are still tuning into that hurt to get ready for this year’s version of the annual series between the two schools separated by just 10 miles.

“We’re still salty,” added Owens. “We think about what the streak could’ve been if we wouldn’t have lost. The saltiness is there if they have won or not.”

“We don’t want that to happen again,” Mattoon senior cornerback Chase Woodard said. “I don’t want that to happen my year or any year.”

“This is one that they wait for all year long,” Mattoon head coach Jarad Kimbro said. “From the time that they played it and finished it last year, that’s the one on their mind. All year long.”

And the trophy is something each team has left to play for, with both Charleston and Mattoon at 1-5 and not eligible for the postseason. The Wave will need to see some more from their offense, scoring only 10 points combined over its last three games. But the Clash brings out their best.

“We walk by and you read the scores and it’s like Mattoon, Mattoon, Mattoon,” said Owens. “It feels right where it’s at.”

“It’s like seeing it in it’s rightful place,” Woodard said. “It’s like it’s home basically.”

The Wave will try to keep the trophy in their hands as they look to make it nine wins in the last 10 against the Trojans in the Friday Football Fever Spotlight Game of the Week.