It probably will not be as simple as that when the Spartans travel to Paris for Friday’s Class 5A state semifinal contest, but the fact that they’ve already gone on the road and claimed a postseason victory against a battle-tested squad should be a check in their favor on the weekend’s checklist.
Past that, Summit – the only 5A semifinalist from last year’s ‘Final Four’ – hasn’t lost since dropping a 27-20 decision in Week 4 to eventual Class 6A quarterfinalist Franklin. The Spartans (12-1) take a five-game (on-field) winning streak into the semis, along with four ‘COVID wins’ that disrupted the second half of their schedule.
The down time hasn’t seemed to have much of an adverse effect, as Summit’s three playoff wins have come by an average of 19 points.
Henry County, meanwhile, hasn’t lost over that time frame either. In addition to that 21-14 Week 2 loss to Beech (at Milan), the Patriots (10-2) fell two weeks later at Class 6A semifinalist Brentwood by a 55-17 deficit. From there, though, they’ve posted eight straight victories and done so in impressive fashion, by an average margin of 44.3 points.
An offense that centers around senior RB Jermarcus Johnson (1,687 yards, 25 TDs) and sophomore QB Ryan Damron (1,351 passing yards, 15 TDs) has done the bulk of that damage, with sophomore RB Zamaryion Kendall chipping in 487 rushing yards and 14 TDs.
Still, Henry County’s success includes wins over six teams that finished at or below .500, compared to five for the Spartans.
Led by Mr. Football finalist Destin Wade, Summit’s offensive versatility has made them a tough out and should continue to do so. After rushing for 624 yards and passing for 166 in postseason wins over Hillwood and Columbia Central, the Spartans opened up the air game and threw for 218 yards – and four touchdowns – along with 230 rushing yards in the Beech victory.
Meanwhile, a defense sparked by DEs Tre Hunter and Caleb Jolley and CB Konata Werts stands to get a lift from LB Keaten Wade, who has played in just one game this season because of a foot injury but is expected to see time Friday.
It all points to Summit slipping past Henry County and making a return trip to Cookeville.
Mostradamus’ pick: Summit 34, Henry Co. 26.
Also (home team in bold): Oakland over Maryville Brentwood over Bartlett Oak Ridge over South-Doyle Elizabethton over Nolensville Haywood over Lexington Alcoa over Red Bank Pearl-Cohn over Milan Trousdale Co. over Meigs Co. Peabody over Waverly South Pittsburg over Coalfield Fayetteville over Lake Co.
Friday’s Class 5A state playoff quarterfinal matchup between Summit and host Beech promises to only be pretty for whoever wins it.
Both teams have displayed physical running games and battle-tested defenses over the course of the season, including their last outings – with Beech posting a shocking 36-0 win over Region 6-5A rival Hillsboro and Summit downing Columbia Central 28-14 to sweep its Region 5-5A foe.
“It’s going to be a fun, physical, close football game,” veteran Summit coach Brian Coleman said. “We’re going to have to match their physicality. We’ve got to tackle their little running back; we can’t let him bounce.
“We’ve got to limit the mistakes. We’re 0-2 against them, and both times we made the mistakes. A lot of these kids were on the team that went three overtimes there. They understand and remember. We’ve got to limit the mistakes, for sure.”
Before advancing to the state finals last year, the Spartans (11-1) had seen each of their previous two seasons end at the hands of the Buccaneers – falling 45-42 in triple overtime on the road to open the 2018 playoffs, and dropping a 21-16 quarterfinal decision at home in 2017.
Offensively, Beech (9-1) is paced by Tysean Jefferson. The 5-5, 143-pound senior has rushed for 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns in an offense that’s predicated on the ground game. No receiver has more than 12 catches or 200 yards, and quarterback Xaviere Jones has thrown for 790 yards and seven scores (with six interceptions).
“They’re going to get in that ‘double-tight (end)’, smoke-stack and try to 3- and 4-yard us to death,” Coleman said.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Bronco Hanks sets the tone with a team-high 94 tackles (49 solos), a sack and a fumble recovery.
That unit, which has helped Beech to an eight-game win streak (nine counting a Week 3 ‘COVID victory’ over Glencliff) since a 26-24 season-opening loss to Powell, will be challenged. Summit averaged 33.5 points in its eight on-field contests.
Keying that attack is junior quarterback Destin Wade, a Class 5A Mr. Football finalist who’s averaging 156.5 offensive yards per game with 26 total touchdowns. Wade comes off a 242-yard, three-TD rushing effort against Central.
“I don’t think we’ve played our best game,” Coleman said. “I think our guys understand what this team (Beech) is all about.”
Mostradamus’ pick: Summit 24, Beech 20.
Moore Co. over Fayetteville Pearl-Cohn over Stewart Co. Tullahoma over Nolensville Brentwood over Franklin
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
High school football followers across Tennessee have reached a point that, four months ago, no one was sure would be attainable:
The state playoffs.
In the midst of a pandemic, a number of teams have managed to put themselves in position for a state championship, and the path to doing so begins Friday.
Locally, four teams are in the running for titles. Let’s see what Mostradamus sees for those and for others across the area as they open playoff action this weekend.
Spring Hill (3-5) at DeKalb Co. (6-3) – Making their first postseason appearance under third-year coach Ben Martin, the Raiders face the Region 3-4A titlist in a matchup that was unexpected a week ago. DeKalb County, dealing with COVID contact tracing issues, was thought to be done at the conclusion of the regular season but received a reprieve from its school board. The Tigers’ pass-heavy attack is spearheaded by senior QB Axel Aldino (2,567 offensive yards, 31 total TDs), a Class 4A Mr. Football semifinalist, while WRs Desmond Nokes (665 yards, 10 TDs), Isaac Knowles (603 yards, four TDs) and Travante Alexander (444 yards, four TDs) each have 25-plus receptions. DeKalb brings a five-game winning streak into the contest – the season finale against Cumberland County was declared a no-contest — with an average margin of 27.4 points. Those five wins, though, came against Grundy County, Cannon County, Livingston Academy, Smith County and Macon County – who combined for a 19-29 record.
Spring Hill, the fourth seed out of Region 4-4A, won two of its last three on-field contests before back-to-back open weeks. The Raiders’ game at Battle Ground Academy was canceled for inclement weather and the Lawrence County season finale was declared a COVID win when the Wildcats were unable to play. Winless through the midpoint of the regular season, Spring Hill downed Maplewood 35-0 and Richland 19-14 in consecutive outings before falling 21-14 in double overtime against Marshall County. Offensively, the Raiders took off once RB Mac Richie became the focal point of the rushing game. Richie gained 60-plus yards in each of those three contests. Defensively, the Spring Hill secondary with CBs Dante Prowell and Landen Secrest will be the key. Spring Hill 26, DeKalb Co. 22.
Columbia Central (5-5) at Gallatin (4-6) – Boosted by the postseason absence of Shelbyville (TSSAA sanctions), the Lions were rescued from a second straight trip to Beech as the No. 4 seed from Region 5-5A and instead face the host Green Wave – whose only on-field victory after Labor Day weekend was a 68-0 pasting of Region 6-5A foe Glencliff in the regular-season finale. Besides that, Gallatin lost six straight, including a pair of backyard rivalries as Hendersonville won 46-0 and Beech 36-8 in consecutive contests. QB Mason Stanley has thrown for 1,057 yards with eight TDs (and six interceptions) and leads the team with 504 rushing yards. LB Max Wingert anchors a defense that also features DL Zion Robb (6-3, 340) and DBs Dee Sullivan, Luke Cook and Damian Maturo.
Central, with a depleted roster because of injuries and COVID-related absences, will rely on an offense led by a couple of seniors – QB Brady McCanless (1,006 passing yards, eight TDs) and WR Steven Kinnard (433 receiving yards, four TDs) – and an opportunistic defense. DL Carter Szydlowski, LBs Shane Cobb and Demetrius McCoy and CB Roman Woodson give the Lions playmakers at each level, even in the absence of DE Antwan Moore and S Laith Naddy. After nearly earning the road win in the opening round last year against top-ranked undefeated Beech, Central may be set to pull off the upset this time. Columbia Central 17, Gallatin 13.
Hillwood (3-2) at Summit (9-1) – Because of the pandemic restrictions on Metro Nashville Public Schools athletics, Hillwood didn’t begin its football season until Oct. 1. Summit has played one game since Oct. 2, with three scheduled games canceled under COVID guidelines. So the Spartans will make their return to play against a Hillwood team that’s in rhythm and features junior QB Cam Davis, a Whites Creek transfer who threw for 3,642 yards and 26 TDs as a freshman and sophomore. After winning their first three games, the Hilltoppers fell to Hillsboro and Beech by a combined score of 89-24.
Summit, with just two games since Week 4, will likely ease back into action behind its junior signalcaller, Destin Wade (1,432 offensive yards, 18 total TDs). It’ll be intriguing to see whether the Spartans take a conservative approach to this contest offensively, considering the Class 5A Mr. Football semifinalist threw two early interceptions and finished with three in his team’s 33-9 Week 8 win at Franklin County. Meanwhile, Summit will continue to be without RB/LB Keaten Wade, as the foot injury that sidelined him for the first half of the season remains problematic for the junior. Summit 41, Hillwood 14.
Independence (6-2) at LaVergne (5-5) – Last week’s loss to Ravenwood cost Independence a Region 6-6A crown and stopped a six-game win streak. It also got the Eagles’ attention, which stands to be bad news for the homestanding Wolverines as they make their first playoff appearance since 2017. LaVergne is led by senior RB Ray Banner, Class 6A Mr. Football semifinalist who rushed for 1,727 yards and 24 touchdowns through the regular season.
Independence, though, boasts its own Mr. Football semifinalist. Senior QB Jaxson Campbell has ran and thrown for 2,172 offensive yards and 27 total TDs, leading an offense that also features RB Tre Hartwell (438 yards, four TDs) and TEs Ty Lockwood (394 receiving yards, two TDs) and Tyler Kondra (249 yards, two TDs) to complement WR Calvin Wilson (506 yards, seven TDs). LBs Josh Amor and Ethan Pickering key a defensive unit that allowed just over 14 points per game through its last seven outings. Independence 32, LaVergne 10.
Fayetteville over Hollow Rock-Bruceton Huntland over Collinwood Moore Co. over Wayne Co. Huntingdon over Cornersville Lewis Co. over Scotts Hill Decatur Co.-Riverside over Eagleville East Hickman over Forrest Waverly over Loretto Nolensville over Livingston Acad. Marshall Co. over Macon Co. Tullahoma over Stone Memorial Beech at Lincoln County Hillsboro over Page Smyrna over Franklin Brentwood over Cane Ridge
Given the first 10 weeks of the 2020 area high school football schedule, it would have been shocking if there had been no games canceled for Week 11.
There’s no shock.
The shutdowns were well spread out, though, as Summit’s Region 5-5A regular-season finale at Lincoln County was canceled last week because of COVID issues on the part of the prospective hosts. On Wednesday, Spring Hill learned that its Region 4-4A matchup with visiting Lawrence County would not take place because the Wildcats have had pandemic issues.
Most recently, similar concerns at Columbia Academy resulted in the Bulldogs announcing Thursday they will not travel to Fayette Academy for their Division II-A West Region contest.
There is still, though, a Week 11 slate that includes some contests with postseason implications.
Let’s see what Mostradamus sees for the final Friday night of the regular season.
Columbia Central (5-4, 1-3) at Shelbyville (6-2, 3-0): Both teams are expected to have their starting quarterbacks for this Region 5-5A tilt – which benefits the host Golden Eagles. Junior Kade Cunningham, who ran and threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns in Shelbyville’s Week 8 win at Cleveland, was unavailable for last week’s victory over Franklin County for COVID-related reasons. Central senior Brady McCanless (837 passing yards, six TDs) left the Lions’ Week 9 game at Page with a concussion and was held out of the Stratford game. Shelbyville is assured of the No. 2 seed for the Class 5A playoffs regardless of Friday’s outcome, while Central can lock up a berth with a win – but can also advance, win or lose, with a Page victory over Franklin County. A Page loss and a Central loss would end the Lions’ season. Shelbyville 27, Columbia Central 21.
Huntland (5-4, 2-2) at Richland (3-5, 1-3): The winner grabs the final postseason berth out of Region 5-1A, with region titlist Fayetteville, runner-up Moore County and Cornersville already decided. Huntland can advance as the No. 3 seed with a win, while the Raiders would advance as the No. 4 seed for a second straight season with a victory. The Hornets surprised host Cornersville last week, winning 24-14 for their third victory in their last four outings. Senior RB Kolbi Stewart (1,091 rushing yards, 15 TDs) homefield has been Huntland’s offensive constant, with five 100-yard efforts – including a 301-yard performance two weeks ago against Moore County. Richland’s playoff hopes, jeopardized with last week’s 35-7 loss at Moore County, now lie on its ability to generate offense behind QB Sam Edwards and senior RB Austin Seals; the two have teamed for 1,090 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, but the Raiders have scored 20-plus points just twice in eight games and has managed just 34 points in consecutive losses to Spring Hill, Cornersville and Moore County. Huntland 26, Richland 18.
Mt. Pleasant (1-7, 0-3) at Moore Co. (8-1, 3-1): The Bulldogs close out a season of struggle on the road, against a Moore County team that’s been impressive all year. Ranked fifth in this week’s Associated Press Class 1A Top 10, the Raiders’ only loss came to Region 5-1A titlist and sixth-ranked Fayetteville back in Week 5 by a 28-22 margin; Moore County’s four victories – including last week’s 35-7 win over Richland — since have been by an average of 25 points. QB Kyler Parker has rolled up 2,000-plus offensive yards with 25 touchdowns, with RB Tyler Smith providing a nice secondary punch. The Raider attack promises to be a challenge for Mt. Pleasant’s defense, led by senior LB Ethan Beasley (60 tackles, two sacks in five games) and S Jeffrey Williams. On the other side of the ball, QB Te’Varius Strayhorn comes off his most productive passing performance in last week’s 14-6 loss at Eagleville. The Tiger offense will have to execute and be balanced to have a chance here. Moore Co. 24, Mt. Pleasant 16.
Ravenwood (5-4, 3-1) at Independence (6-1, 4-0): The visiting Raptors, boasting a pair of Power 5 commits in TE Jake Briningstool (Clemson) and LB Junior Colson (Michigan), bring a less-than-glowing mark into this Region 6-6A clash. Don’t be fooled. Ravenwood’s losses are to league and crosstown rival Brentwood, perennial Division II-AA power Christ Presbyterian Academy and a pair of high-powered out-of-state in Pulaski Academy (Ark.) and IMG Academy (Fla.). Ranked 10th in the AP Class 6A poll after last week’s 51-10 win at Smyrna, Ravenwood eyes its eighth straight win in the series against Independence. The Eagles have not scored more than 14 points in any of the previous seven matchups. That’ll change this week. QB Jaxson Campbell (1,936 offensive yards, 25 total TDs) should be a Mr. Football candidate with a number of weapons at his disposal – including RB Tre Hartwell, TEs Tyler Kondra and Ty Lockwood and WR Calvin Wilson – in what may be the most diverse Independence offense since Scott Blade’s arrival as coach. With the region title at stake, expect the hosts to rise to the occasion. Independence 31, Ravenwood 24.
Summertown (3-5, 0-3) at Community (1-8, 0-4): Since a 3-0 start, things haven’t gone so well for the Eagles – though nine points separate them from a two-game winning streak entering their season finale. An 18-14 loss to visiting Region 5-2A rival Eagleville ended Summertown’s playoff hopes, and a 24-19 defeat at the hands of visiting Lawrence County denied the hosts bragging rights in the Battle of the Buffalo. Still, featuring nearly a dozen juniors – including QB Colton Shaffer, RB Aniken Johnson and RB/WR Javen Edmiston – the Eagles have the chance to take some momentum into the offseason with a win against a Viking squad that defeated Cannon County in Week 4 but has dropped five straight since and hasn’t scored more than 16 points in any of its eight losses. Summertown 28, Community 17.
Zion Chr. (4-5) at Cornersville (6-3): A depleted Zion Christian roster will wrap up the year against a Cornersville that is playoff-bound but coming off a loss to Huntland in league play. The Bulldogs will look to sharpen their play before an opening-round road contest, while Zion hopes to finish the year at .500 with a victory. The Eagles will be led yet again by junior QB Luke Perko (2,030 offensive yards, 25 total TDs), but will be without a couple of linemen and down a receiver as well. Cornersville 34, Zion Chr. 21.
Columbia Acad. at Fayette Acad., canceled Lawrence Co. at Spring Hill, canceled Lincoln Co. at Summit, canceled
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, it would stand to reason that a number of upcoming games would have playoff implications.
And with it being 2020, it would stand to reason that the upcoming schedule is — once again — jacked up.
Anticipated inclement weather has prompted two area contests to be played a day early, with a COVID cancellation forcing another area team into a matchup against an out-of-state foe.
It all makes for an intriguing two-day menu. Let’s see what Mostradamus sees from the Thursday and Friday slate.
(All games Friday, 7 p.m., unless indicated.)
Lawrence Co. (3-5) at Summertown (3-4), Thursday: From playing their home games at Lawrence County’s Hendrix-Staggs Stadium six years ago, Summertown has progressed to hosting its county rival for the first time. The Eagles, ranked as high as No. 9 in Class 2A earlier this season, are in the midst of a four-game slide following an 18-14 come-from-ahead loss to visiting region rival Eagleville; a ‘scoop and score’ inside the final 90 seconds turned the outcome, despite a 93-yard rushing performance by junior RB Javen Edmiston (473 rushing yards, five TDs). Summertown should be motivated against a Wildcat squad that owns its own losing streak. Since opening the year with back-to-back victories over Hickman County and Loretto, along with a ‘COVID win’ over Maplewood, Lawrence County has lost five straight – allowing 31 or more points in four of those. In their only previous meeting, Lawrence County claimed a 16-0 decision on its home field. Location may yet again be the deciding factor. Summertown 19, Lawrence Co. 15.
Stratford (1-3) at Columbia Central (4-4), Thursday: A non-league clash may come at a good time for the host Lions, who have dropped consecutive Region 5-5A matchups that may have dropped them out of postseason contention. Their playoff hopes will certainly need some help along with a victory in next week’s season finale at Shelbyville. First, though, they face a Spartan squad that started the season nearly a month late because of Metro Nashville Public Schools pandemic limitations. Since opening its schedule with a 27-26 Week 5 win over Hunters Lane, Stratford has managed just two touchdowns in losses to Green Hill, Pearl-Cohn and East Nashville. Though Central is likely to be without a handful of players because of injuries and COVID concerns, events surrounding the contest – homecoming festivities, plus recognition of the 2010 Class 5A state championship team – make this a tough game to lose. Columbia Central 28, Stratford 16.
Columbia Acad. (1-5) vs. Rabun Co., Ga., (5-1) at Boyd Buchanan, Chattanooga, 6:30 p.m.: Originally slated to play a Division II-A West Region contest at Clarksville Academy, the Bulldogs were without a game when the Cougars were quarantined a week ago. On Tuesday, though, a matchup was arranged against one of Northeast Georgia’s top programs. Rabun County, a Class 2A (out of seven classes) program featuring junior QB Gunner Stockton (2,033 total yards, 33 TDs) has averaged 44.7 points this season and comes off a 63-17 win over Class 6A Marietta Pope. Winless going into a COVID pause, CA has since taken Trinity Christian to overtime before falling 22-21 and picked up its first victory a week ago, a 43-21 decision over Tipton-Rosemark. Prior to their last two games, the ‘Dogs had averaged less than 10 points per contest. Rabun Co. 38, Columbia Acad. 21.
East Hickman (5-2) at Zion Chr. (4-4): With a victory in their home finale, the Eagles – following last week’s 34-27 win at Mt. Pleasant – can assure themselves of their first five-win campaign since 2012 (5-6) and their first .500 finish since 2009, when they finished 7-4 and made the first of four straight playoff appearances. Zion clearly goes as junior QB Luke Perko (1,764 offensive yards, 22 TDs) goes, as witnessed by his accounting for all five (three passing, two rushing) TDs against Mt. Pleasant. East Hickman, meanwhile, has snapped a skid of six straight losing seasons and has won its last two outings (along with a ‘COVID win’ over Waverly), outscoring Cheatham County and Hickman County by a combined 56 points. Zion won last year’s matchup 14-8. This one stands to be close as well. Zion Chr. 27, East Hickman 22.
Independence (5-1, 3-0) at Brentwood (6-2, 3-0): This stands to be Independence’s biggest matchup of the season, as the Eagles travel north for a cross-county matchup against the state’s fifth-ranked Class 6A team with the Region 6 top spot at stake. The Bruins’ lone losses have been to top-ranked Brentwood Academy (Division II-AAA) and Oakland (Class 6A). Expect the quarterbacks to set the tone for both teams – Cade Granzow for Brentwood, Jaxson Campbell for Independence. A first-year starter, Campbell has ran and thrown for 1,651 offensive yards with 22 TDs while spreading the ball around in the passing game; four different receivers have 10-plus receptions and 100-plus yards. Granzow’s top target is Tennessee commit Walker Merrill, while Aaron Walton is a threat as well. Weather permitting, this could be an air show. Independence 31, Brentwood 27.
Mt. Pleasant (1-6) at Eagleville (3-5): The host Eagles got a boost of confidence – and a boost in their postseason chances – with last week’s last-minute win at region rival Summertown. Mt. Pleasant, meanwhile, stumbled after recording its first victory of the season against visiting 2A foe Loretto and fell to Zion Christian in its final home game of the season. The young Tigers will try to salvage something from a tough campaign against surging Eagleville, with hopes of an upset here and in their Week 11 league finale at Moore County. Sophomore RB Zavier Davidson (480 rushing yards, seven TDs) has been a bright spot offensively of late for the Tigers. Eagleville 26, Mt. Pleasant 20.
Richland (2-5, 1-2) at Moore Co. (7-1, 2-1): The visiting Raiders can throw a significant monkey wrench into the Region 5-1A standings with a win over the host Raiders, ranked No. 5 in Class 1A. The ground game combination of Kyler Parker and Tyler Smith has powered a Moore County offensive that averages 354 yards and just under 30 points per contest, including a 31-21 league win last week at Huntland. Richland has dropped consecutive outings, falling 19-14 to Spring Hill and 30-13 to visiting Cornersville in a region matchup. RBs Austin Seals (597 yards, four TDs) and Trey Walkington (164 yards in last two games) help key the visitors’ rushing attack. Moore Co. 34, Richland 26.
Spring Hill (2-5) at Battle Ground Acad. (4-3): After two wins and a win-worthy effort last week, Spring Hill hopes to take some momentum on the road against BGA, which won in decisive fashion (42-0) last season. The Raiders have played better defensively than their record indicates, and of late, the offense has caught up behind RBs Mac Richie (204 rushing yards, two TDs in last three weeks) and Landen Secrest (232 rushing/receiving yards, three TDs in last three weeks). The Wildcats, meanwhile, stopped a three-game skid with consecutive victories against Franklin Road Academy and Lincoln County. QB Brett Brown threw for 135 yards and two TDs in the Week 9 win, with RB Zach Flores rushing for 157 yards and two scores on 12 carries. Battle Ground Acad. 24, Spring Hill 17.
Last week: 5-2 (.714) Season: 39-13 (.750)
Southern Middle Tennessee Sports
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