Mostradamus saw some success to open the playoffs, misfiring on just three of 19 picks in the first round — though those three were a bit glaring.
As the Road to Cookeville continues, the picking stands to get tougher — particularly with the number of rematches that dot this weekend’s second round. Of the dozen area contests taking place Friday, nine are between teams that met during the regular season.
And while there’s a sports truism that ‘it’s tough to beat a good team twice in a season’, it’s almost as true that the best indicator of future success is past performance.
In the classic case(s) of immovable object vs. unstoppable force, let’s see what the turbaned prognosticator sees for this weekend.
Columbia Central (6-5) at Summit (10-1): The Spartans won this one handily back in Week 3, dusting Central 35-0. Getting back to their offensive roots, the Spartans rushed for 321 yards – and all five touchdowns — in that victory while throwing just three passes. QB Destin Wade, a Class 5A Mr. Football semifinalist, rushed for 121 yards and four scores in the contest.
Playing for the first time since Oct. 8, Summit knocked off some rust last weekend, defeating opening-round playoff foe Hillwood 42-6 after a pair of Region 5-5A ‘COVID wins’ and an open date to close the regular season. Once again, the ground game was the primary focus for the top-seeded and third-ranked Spartans, with 316 of their 401 offensive yards coming in that fashion. Four different players rushed for 40-plus yards in the victory, with RB Brandon King (82 yards) leading the way, though Wade (1,555 offensive yards, 22 TDs) did complete five of eight passes for 85 yards and three TDs.
Seeded third out of Region 5-5A, the Lions picked up their first postseason victory since advancing to the 2012 Class 5A state finals last weekend – but they had to work overtime (make that, triple overtime) to get it, winning 21-14 in three extra periods at Gallatin. QB Brady McCanless (1,196 passing yards, 10 TDs) threw for a pair of TDs and ran for one, all in the final 4:34 of regulation and in overtime to help Central snap a four-game playoff skid (all four, oddly enough, to Beech). The Lions’ defense, as has been the case throughout the season, sealed the deal with a stop on fourth-and goal from the Gallatin 20-yard line.
Central stands to have DE Antwan Moore back from a two-week COVID quarantine, a much-needed lift as the Lions get set for Summit’s diverse attack. While they may slow the Spartans down, scoring may be more of a challenge than the visitors can overcome. Summit 27, Columbia Central 13.
Independence (7-2) at Brentwood (8-3): The regular-season clash between these Region 6-6A rivals will be fresh on the minds of all involved, as the visiting Eagles won 26-21 in Week 10 — overcoming a first-half deficit to build a 19-point fourth-quarter cushion and hanging on for the victory.
After putting themselves in position for the region title, though, the Eagles lost to visiting Ravenwood 28-14 in the regular-season finale and advanced into postseason play as the No. 3 seed. Independence went on the road last week and dealt LaVergne a 49-14 defeat, racking up 456 yards on the night and leading 35-7 at intermission. Class 6A Mr. Football semifinalist Jaxson Campbell (2,439 offensive yards, 31 total TDs) threw for 292 yards and four scores in the runaway win, while the Indy defense held RB Ray Banner (also a Mr. Football semifinalist) to 29 rushing yards on 16 carries.
The Bruins bounced back from the loss with consecutive victories, downing Centennial to wrap up the league title and thumping Cane Ridge 45-13 despite numerous players missing the playoff opener because of COVID issues and/or injuries. Chief among the missing was senior QB Cade Granzow, who sustained a knee injury early in the postseason contest; his status for Friday is undetermined. Davis White, Brentwood’s No. 2 signalcaller, completed 17 of 19 passes for 247 yards and five TDs. However, White will miss this weekend’s game as he is in quarantine.
Independence turned the ball over three times in the Ravenwood loss — after going five straight games without one. The Eagles lost a fumble last week at LaVergne. Regaining their sharpness will be vital to win a second road matchup against the host Bruins. Independence 31, Brentwood 20.
Fayetteville over Huntland
Moore Co. over Huntingdon
Lewis Co. over Decatur Co.-Riverside
Waverly over Forrest
Pearl-Cohn over East Nashville
Stewart Co. over Giles Co.
Tullahoma over Marshall Co.
Nolensville over DeKalb Co.
Hillsboro over Beech
Ravenwood over Franklin
Last week: 16-3 (.842)
Season: 64-20 (.762)