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With two weeks left in the regular season, the race for the playoffs is in full gear.
If the postseason started today, Harriman would be in the Class 1A playoffs with a 3-6 record. The problem for the Blue Devils is they have played one more game than most teams in Class 1A, which means they probably need a victory over Meigs County to seal the deal. A loss, however, does not necessarily eliminate the Blue Devils, but they would need a lot of things to go their way if they drop Friday’s game in Decatur.
In Class 2A, it’s going to take five wins and probably six to make the playoffs. Wiley’s Brackett’s squad is currently 4-4 and probably needs to beat Wartburg Friday and Monterey next Friday to get in. There would still be a slim chance to make the playoffs if they split those two games, but like Harriman, they would need a lot of things to fall their way if they don’t win out.
Roane County’s other three teams know their fate as Rockwood and Midway are going to the playoffs while Kingston is not. The Jackets will play Sweetwater at home Friday while Rockwood hosts Midway in the 2013 Roane County Championship Game.
Sweetwater (3-5) at Kingston (0-8)
Friday night is going to be an emotional night at Dr. Nat Sugarman Memorial Field as the Kingston Yellow Jackets will play their first game since Seth Haynes suffered a broken neck.
For Kingston to win for their injured teammate, they will need to do something they haven’t done all season and that’s put four quarters of football together. The Jackets have shown signs of brilliance this season with QB Logan Malenovsky leading the way, but the youthful Jackets have yet to play a full 48 minutes.
Kingston’s opponent this week is a Sweetwater squad that has had an up-and-down season. The Wildcats started the season 3-1, averaging 34 points per game along the way, but have since gone 0-4, being outscored by an average of 33-16.
It really doesn’t matter how this game turns out because the big news is that Seth Haynes can still walk. With that being said, the orange and blue would like nothing better than to give Haynes a game ball that says… Kingston 28 Sweetwater 24.
Wartburg (2-6) at
Oliver Springs (4-4)
That’s pretty much the feeling in Oliver Springs this week as Wiley Brackett’s Bobcats know if they lose against the Bulldogs on Friday then they can pretty much kiss the playoffs goodbye.
Oliver Springs will be the favorite this week as they are taking on a Bulldog squad that averages just 15.5 points per game and they have been held to single digits in four of their eight contests.
Wartburg does have a pair of playmakers on offense in Ryan Poole and Dalton Phillips while LB Adam Kilby might be the best defensive player in the district. Kilby made 22 tackles two weeks ago against Monterey.
Kilby will have plenty of chances at making tackles this week as the Bobcats like to run the ball with Eddie Stephenson and Shawn Childress seeing the bulk of the carries.
Last week, the Bobcats did throw more than usual as Sunbright stacked the box with eight defenders for much of the evening. QB Brandon Buck responded by throwing for 141 yards with Anthony Woods (5-60) and Markus Miller (3-51, 1 TD) being his top receivers.
The Bobcats should be focused this week against a team that has nothing to play for… Oliver Springs 34 Wartburg 14.
Harriman (3-6) at
Meigs County (2-6)
Want to know just how wild TSSAA playoff scenarios can be? Just look at Harriman.
The Blue Devils are in a strange position that they could win Friday’s game at Meigs County, finish the season at 4-6, but still miss the playoffs. However, they could also lose Friday’s game at Meigs County, finish at 3-7 and still make the playoffs. That’s what happens when approximately 10 teams are still mathematically alive for the postseason.
Harriman, however, still knows they’re best bet is to win and to do that they’ll need to control the clock and wear on the Tigers.
When Harriman is at their best, the big boys up front make it easy for RBs Garrett Greene (837 yards) and Kaleb Eleam (641 yards) to average 6.5 yards per carry.
Harriman’s opponent is a bit of a mystery. The Tigers have averaged 52 points per game in their two wins, but have been blown out in five of their six losses. The one close loss came last week with a 15-14 setback at Midway.
Harriman has been hungry to make the postseason after failing to do so for two straight seasons. Look for a strong showing from the Blue Devils Friday night… Harriman 28 Meigs County 14.
Midway (6-2) at Rockwood (6-2)
The 2013 Roane County champion will be crowned Friday night when the county’s green teams do battle at Rockwood’s Civitan Field.
The Tigers enter Friday’s contest coming off a bye week, which gave them an extra week to simmer about a 21-20 loss at Tellico Plains two weeks ago. In that game, the Tigers led 20-0, but couldn’t finish the deal.
The week off should rejuvenate the Tigers and RB Drake Long, who leads Roane County in rushing with 1,147 yards through eight games.
Tiger head coach John Webb will need a big night from Long along with fellow backs Christian Domon, Tristan Ewing, Jared Kilby and Jason Gaus because Rockwood’s game plan will be to keep an explosive Midway offense on the sideline with their running game that averages 271.4 yards per contest.
Midway enters Friday’s game averaging 30.3 points and 370.3 yards per contest. Balance is the key to Midway’s attack. The Green Wave have thrown for 1,180 yards this year and receivers Zack Qualls, Mason Woody and Jonathan Beason rank 1-2-3 in Roane County in receiving yards while senior Christian Moore gives Joe Campbell’s squad another playmaker in the passing game.
When not throwing, QB Shandon Lyle is just as effective running the football. He has rushed for 307 yards over the past two weeks and is third in the county this season with 886 yards.
Austin Longmire (404 yards) is another threat for Midway on the ground.
Two county rivals going at it with a title on the line should lead to an intense, hard hitting game. It’s also late in the season and that’s where Rockwood’s bye week will pay off… Rockwood 28 Midway 21.
Goose’s Gander on other games of interest: Oneida by 14 over Sunbright, Oakdale by 14 over Jellico, Notre Dame by 6 over Coalfield, Greenback by 14 over Tellico Plains, CAK by 14 over Livingston Academy, Scott by 20 over Cumberland Gap, Alcoa by 28 over Maplewood, Webb by 7 over Catholic. Last Week 8-1; Overall 91-13.