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Coaches often say the most important game on the schedule is the next one as a way to keep their team focused on the task at hand instead of looking ahead to big games down the road.
This week, however, coaches won’t have to worry about their team peeking ahead because Friday night all four Roane County teams in action have district contests on tap.
District 3-A will be the busiest as Midway will host Greenback while Harriman visits Tellico Plains.
District 4-A will see Oliver Springs make the five-mile trip to Coalfield for the 2012 version of the Big Mountain Brawl, and in District 4-AA, Kingston will look to keep their perfect season alive when they travel to Cumberland County to take on Stone Memorial.
Rockwood was scheduled to take on Taft Youth Center this week, but will receive a forfeit as Taft did not field a team this season.
at Greenback (4-0)
Midway and Greenback have locked horns in several great battles over the years, but this week’s battle between the Green Wave and Cherokees appears to be a mismatch.
Greenback enters Friday’s contest as the No. 3 ranked team in Class A and so far the Cherokees have outscored their opponents 177-15 on the season.
Greenback’s explosive offense is led by senior RB Richard Seymour and junior QB Eric Anderson. Seymour is closing in on 5,000 career rushing yards and could make a run at 6,000 before the end of the year.
WR Hunter Cope gives the Cherokees a third weapon.
Midway enters the game off a bye week and should be healthy.
Midway’s Shandon Lyle has rushed for a county-best 385 yards this season and he will have to have a big night if the Green Wave are to pull the upset.
Tyler Clark (146 yards rushing) and Mason Woody (108 yards receiving) will try to bring balance to Midway’s attack.
The good news is the Green Wave got an extra week to celebrate their first win of the season. The bad news is the Cherokees are loaded... Greenback 35 Midway 12.
at Tellico Plains (0-4)
Friday’s game is pretty much a must win game for the Blue Devils and Bears if they want to stay alive for a playoff berth.
Harriman is winless entering Friday’s game, but the Blue Devils played well in last week’s loss at Class AAA Upperman. In that game, Harriman rushed for more than 200 yards and ended the game with nearly 300 yards of offense.
The boost on offense comes as a youthful Blue Devils squad seems to be understanding their roles.
Balance could be a key Friday night as Mikey Roberts, Kaleb Eleam, Lucas Lunsford and Garrett Greene all rushed for more than 30 yards while QB Brantley Taylor had his best night throwing the ball.
Harriman is hoping that balance pays off against a Bears defense that is allowing 50.3 points per game this season.
Speedsters Dakota Rinehart and Adam Reece are the leaders for Tellico Plains on offense.
Both teams have circled this game as a great opportunity to get a win. Harriman, however, is playing better... Harriman 28 Tellico Plains 20.
Oliver Springs (1-3)
at Coalfield (4-0)
Emotions will be running high Friday night as the Jackets and Bobcats will pay tribute to Brady Walls before the game. Walls died in April and played for Oliver Springs in high school while suiting up for Coalfield in middle school.
Once the game starts, Coalfield appears to have the advantage as the Jackets have outscored their opponents by 34 points per game this season.
Physicality is the key to Coalfield’s success as the Jackets have a huge line led by two all-state performers, Zach Stewart and Benson Napier.
QB “Rocket” Ryan Hill, RB Adison Bible and WR Heath Tinker are the leaders on offense.
Oliver Springs has been playing better, but the Bobcats are also battling injuries.
If the Bobcats are to have a chance, they must match Coalfield physically up front to allow Shawn Childress and Eddie Stephenson to make plays on the ground.
If the Bobcats can pick up yards on the ground, QB Brandon Buck should be able to make plays through the air to Austin West and John Simms.
The winner of Friday’s “Brady Bowl” will receive a plaque to commemorate their victory. Walls first played at Coalfield and the Jackets will be the first to win the plaque... Coalfield 28 Oliver Springs 14.
at Stone Memorial (0-3)
A look at the two teams record would have most believing that this game will be an easy win for Kingston, but if the Jackets are thinking blowout, they will come home with a loss.
Although the Panthers are 0-3, they have played a killer schedule and their last loss was a 46-34 defeat at the hands of defending Class AAA state champion Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK).
Against the Warriors, Stone Memorial rushed for almost 400 yards with senior Thomas Janow amassing 238 yards on only 17 carries.
Kingston will also look to their ground game to lead the way as Brody Roberts, Dustin Kitts, Malcolm Lane and Rhett Jones will share the carries.
Kingston might look more to the passing game, however, as CAK threw for more than 400 yards against the Panthers.
All signs point to an upset as Kingston will be overlooking a winless Panthers team that has never beaten the Jackets. But maybe there’s a reason they’ve never beaten the Jackets... Kingston 17 Stone Memorial 14.
Goose’s Gander on other games of interest: Oneida by 28 over Williamsburg, Sunbright by 35 over Jellico, Wartburg by 20 over Oakdale, CAK by 20 over Loudon, Alcoa by 35 over Scott. Last Week 9-3; Overall 47-7.
Goose’s Gurus Picks: Coalfield, Greenback, Kingston, Harriman, Wartburg, MTSU, Michigan State, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee. Last Week 8-2; Overall 34-6.