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There might not be a lot of county rivalry games on this year’s schedule, but there still are a lot of intriguing match-ups that will go a long way to determine how successful each of Roane County’s five teams will be this season.
Here is a look at what could be the top 13 games for 2013.
Friday, Aug. 23
Oneida at Rockwood
Two tradition rich programs open the season at what could be a playoff preview in November.
Both teams have similar philosophies as both like to run the football and are aggressive on defense.
The loser of the week zero match-up at Civitan Field will still have a chance at a great season, but no team likes getting behind the eight ball right off the bat.
Friday, Aug. 30
Grace Christian at Kingston
The Brian Pankey era starts at Kingston, but Pankey’s first game will be a tough one as one of the state’s Class 2A programs invades Dr. Nat Sugarman Field.
Besides a new era, Kingston fans will also see a new style. Gone will be the Wing-T, and in its place will be a pistol formation that will feature more running from the QB position.
While the offense will be different, Kingston’s philosophy will be the same as always. The Jackets will look to be physical on both sides on the ball.
Sunbright at Harriman
While the match-up isn’t necessarily breathtaking at first glance, it will be a big game for Harriman. The Blue Devils have struggled the past couple of seasons, but their schedule has softened and their usual week one opponent, Kingston is gone and will be replaced by the Tigers from Morgan County.
If Harriman can beat the Hancock County and Sunbright in the first two weeks then the thoughts of past struggles will be forgotten quickly, as Blue Devil fans start thinking playoffs.
Friday, Sept. 6
Rockwood at Harriman
Nothing has to be said about this one as the state’s longest running consecutive running series renews at Wallace Black Field for what will be the 94th time since 1921.
Rockwood has had the better of the series over the past 13 years, winning 12 times, but anything can happen when the Blue Devils and Tigers hookup on the gridiron.
Friday, Sept. 13
Kingston at Rockwood
Arguably, the best two teams in Roane County will meet on Friday the 13th in “Tiger Town.”
Rockwood will be seeking to snap a three-game losing streak against the Jackets, including last year’s 21-14 decision at Kingston. In that game, Rockwood out gained the Jackets by 184 yards, but couldn’t come up with the win.
Look for 20 or 21 points to be the magic number, as the winning team in each of the last six years has scored 20 or 21 points.
Friday, Sept. 20
Bitter rivals square off as defending District 4-A champion Coalfield travels to D.J. Brittan Field.
Coalfield enters the contest with not just district title hopes, but many believe the Jackets have the potential to win the Class 1A state title in December.
Oliver Springs, however, has been the underdog several times over the years against Coalfield and have pulled off the upset.
Fans of big linemen will like the game as both teams have big physical guys in the trenches.
Friday, Oct. 4
Harriman at Midway
Last year’s “Game of the Year” in Roane County took place when Midway used a 31-yard touchdown pass from Shandon Lyle to Mason Woody with 10 seconds left to pick up a 25-20 victory over the Blue Devils.
That victory proved to be the game that got Midway to the playoffs. The rematch on the first Friday in October should again have playoff implications riding on the outcome.
While Grace Christian is the favorite in District 3-A, the winner of the battle between the Cherokees and Tigers should be in the mix for the district title.
Like Kingston, Rockwood will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak to the Cherokees.
Friday, Oct. 11
Kingston at Loudon
While this game is no longer a district contest, it is one of the most anticipated games of the year for Jacket and Redskin fans.
This game is usually close and neither team holds much of an advantage as Loudon owns a 5-4 advantage in their last nine meetings.
Oliver Springs at Oneida
With Coalfield being the clear favorite in District 4-A, this game could be very important with the winner holding the upper hand in the race for an automatic playoff berth out of District 4-A.
This game should also be close as Oneida holds a 3-2 edge in the series since the Bobcats joined the district in 2009.
Friday, Oct. 25
Midway at Rockwood
The final county match-up game of the season should be a fun one as Roane County’s green teams battle it out.
Midway will be the underdog entering the contest, but with Shandon Lyle leading the attack, the Green Wave will have a chance to pull the upset on the road.
Wiley Brackett’s Bobcats host another bitter rival when they take on Wartburg on the final Friday in October.
Oliver Springs has dominated the series of late, winning 9 of 10, but the Bobcats can’t afford a slip up late in the season if they want to make the playoffs.
Friday, Nov. 1
Grace Christian at Rockwood
It’s still three months away, but the Tigers could be playing for a District 3-A championship when they travel to Karns to end the regular season.
Since joining District 3-A in 2009, the winner of this contest has won the district title every year. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the Rams have won three of those four meetings, including last season’s 12-7 heartbreaker at Rockwood.