That’s become a catch-all phrase for anything out of the ordinary taking place these days – like the Thursday announcement of a Saturday football game, as is the case this week for a pair of 2019 state playoff foes.
We’ll discuss that more below, as Mostradamus tries to get his crystal ball focused on the sudden change in events to consider the closest thing to a full slate of area gridiron contests since the opening week.
Coming off a perfect performance in Week 5, let’s see what the turbaned prognosticator comes through with.
(All games 7 p.m. Friday unless noted.)
Collinwood (2-1) at Zion Chr. (3-2): After a two-week pandemic-related shutdown that cost the Trojans games against Summertown and Loretto, Collinwood returned to action last weekend with a 38-6 win at Perry County. To open the season, Collinwood won 40-6 at Middleton and lost 26-10 to Richland. Zion Christian, meanwhile, has won three straight after losses to Grace Christian and Fayetteville – the latter ranked fifth in the current Associated Press Class 1A statewide poll. Victories against the Memphis Nighthawks, Sale Creek and Lakeway Christian have put the Eagles offense front and center, which puts QB Luke Perko front and center. The junior is among the area leaders in both passing (448 yards, six TDs) and rushing (452 yards, four TDs). He’ll play a key role of Zion is to extend its winning streak to four games – which would match last season’s victory total. Zion Chr. 27, Collinwood 22.
Fayetteville (4-1, 3-0) at Richland (2-1, 1-0): Not the greatest timing for the host Raiders, who return from a two-week pandemic-related shutdown to face the fifth-ranked Tigers in a pivotal Region 5-1A contest. Richland’s last outing was a historic 14-7 league victory at Mt. Pleasant – the first in the series since 1993 – before games against Summertown and Lookout Valley were canceled. Call it a long ramp-up for a matchup with a Fayetteville team that has rallied from a season-opening loss to Marion County with consecutive victories over Zion and league foes Huntland, Mt. Pleasant and Moore County. The Tigers have averaged 36.3 points in those four wins, a number that the Richland defense will be pressured to limit and the Raider offense to match. Junior QB Sam Edwards will be challenged with increasing the latter unit’s productivity; he and senior RB Austin Seals have teamed for 634 rushing yards and five TDs thus far. Fayetteville 31, Richland 20.
Hendersonville (2-2) at Independence (3-1): Despite its pedestrian record, Hendersonville is no slouch. The Commandos’ two losses have been against Class 6A top-ranked Oakland (42-10) and Class 5A third-ranked Beech (28-14). Moreover, both their wins are in Region 4-6A play, including last week’s 27-10 victory over Lebanon as RB Brent Rowe rushed for 145 yards and two TDs on 11 carries. The Eagles, meanwhile, have run off consecutive victories against Centennial, Blackman and Franklin since their opening loss to Summit. Led by LB Josh Amor, Independence has allowed just 28 points in the three victories while continuing to get stellar play from QB Jaxson Campbell (1,169 offensive yards, 15 TDs). The Eagles have evened the four-game series against Hendersonville with consecutive wins, including a 2015 playoff victory and last year’s 31-24 decision. Independence 28, Hendersonville 24.
Nolensville (3-1) at Columbia Central (3-2): After claiming a huge league victory last week against visiting Lincoln County, the host Lions will need to manage their emotions against a Nolensville squad that hasn’t looked as sharp as it did en route to a Class 4A state semifinal berth in 2019. The Knights do still boast RB Samson Johnson and QB Ryder Galardi, who helped key their team’s 28-0 victory a year ago over Central, and have offset their season-opening loss to sixth-ranked (Class 6A) Brentwood with wins over Watertown, Spring Hill and Lawrence County. Central, which defeated Spring Hill 27-3 in the season-opening Backyard Bowl, will again be without LB Watson Harvey, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the loss at Giles County. The Lions will, however, have RB Justin Buchmann (93 rushing yards, two TDs vs. Lincoln County) and should have RB Christian Biggers as well. Columbia Central 28, Nolensville 23.
Spring Hill (0-3) at Mt. Juliet (4-0): After missing games against Lincoln County and at Tullahoma for pandemic-related reasons, the Raiders return to action with a road trip to Class 6A No. 7 Mt. Juliet. The Golden Bears left town with a 41-6 victory a year ago, and have been equally dominant this fall with wins over Stewarts Creek, Station Camp, Gallatin and Wilson Central by an average of two touchdowns each. Spring Hill has shown glimpses of success during losses to Columbia Central, Summit and Nolensville, but has been unable to sustain that level of play for long stretches and will be challenged to do so this weekend. The Raiders do have some big-play ability, and will need some of those from RBs Landen Secrest and Kaiden Martin and WRs Remone Kelley and Dante Prowell to have a chance at the upset. Mt. Juliet 34, Spring Hill 17.
Summertown (3-2, 0-1) at Loretto (2-2, 0-1): Both the Pegasus Cup and a Region 5-2A victory will be on the line when these two Lawrence County rivals clash. The visiting Eagles come off a 42-21 league loss at home to third-ranked Lewis County, with Loretto falling 18-7 to region rival Forrest last week. Along with their 7-0 season-opening win over Wayne County, the Mustangs picked up a ‘COVID’ win over Collinwood in Week 4; their other loss was a 54-38 shootout against Lawrence County. Summertown finds itself on a two-game skid, having lost 31-14 at Donelson Christian prior to the Lewis County defeat. However, the Eagles have sufficient firepower to get themselves back on track and retain the Pegasus Cup following last year’s 31-30, double-overtime victory in the series. Summertown 35, Loretto 24
Summit (4-1) at Northwest (1-2): For the visiting Spartans, two weeks to think about their 27-20 loss to Franklin may be two weeks to many for Northwest – which found itself on the wrong end of a 30-3 decision in this matchup a year ago. Summit had been scheduled to play Overton last week, but Metro Nashville Public Schools had still not given the OK to resume athletic activities. Still ranked No. 5 in Class 5A, Summit stands to have too much firepower for the Vikings, who have followed a Week 1 win over West Creek with losses to Montgomery Central and Kenwood – the latter by a 61-14 margin. Summit 41, Northwest 12.
McEwen (2-0) at Mt. Pleasant (0-3), 4 p.m. Saturday: As recently as Wednesday, Mt. Pleasant was looking at a second straight idle week, after going into quarantine and missing its Region 5-1A contest against visiting Cornersville on Sept. 18. However, school officials announced Thursday that their originally scheduled game this week at Wayne County would be replaced, a day later, by visiting McEwen. The Warriors defeated Mt. Pleasant 49-21 in the opening round of last year’s state playoffs, but have played only one on-field contest this season. Their 49-30 Region 6-1A win over Perry County was preceded by a ‘COVID’ win over Houston County (which replaced Mt. Pleasant on Wayne County’s schedule this weekend), before they went into quarantine for two weeks and their Sept. 18 league contest against Huntingdon was canceled. Mt. Pleasant, with losses to Summertown, Richland and Fayetteville – the latter two in league play – looks to snap its season-opening skid behind senior FB/LB Ethan Beasley and two-way lineman Dontavious Ellison. Mt. Pleasant 22, McEwen 14.
Univ. School of Jackson at Columbia Acad., canceled
Last week: 5-0 (1.000)
Season: 23-6 (.793)