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With two weeks left in the regular season, a lot of teams across the state of Tennessee are battling for a TSSAA playoff berth.
Roane County is no different as a pair of county teams, Oliver Springs and Midway, still have work to do in order to make the playoffs. In most classes, five wins is what teams are gunning for in hoping to secure a playoff berth.
Heading onto this week, Midway is sitting on four wins and will be favored to get their fifth win Friday when they head to Sneedville to take on Hancock County. Oliver Springs is currently 3-5 and have a pair of tough, but winnable games to end the season. The first of those games comes Friday night at home against Wartburg.
Harriman is out of the playoff race, but the Blue Devils are feeling good this week following a victory over Grace Baptist Academy of Chattanooga. This week, the Blue Devils host Grace Christian Academy of Knoxville.
Kingston (6-3) and Rockwood (5-4) are both off this week, but appear to have a playoff berth locked up.
Grace Christian (7-1) at Harriman (1-7)
There’s not another Class 1A team in the state that has a tougher closing stretch as the Harriman Blue Devils. This week, the Blue Devils take on one of the best teams in Class 2A, Grace Christian, and that will be followed next week by a match-up with Class 1A power Greenback.
The Blue Devils, however, are feeling good about themselves following last week’s victory over Grace Baptist. In that win, Lucas Lunsford returned to all-star form last week with nearly 150 yards and two TDs on the ground. Chris Works also returned a fumble 99 yards for a touchdown for the Blue Devils, and he ran back an interception for a TD this season while hauling in five TDs through the air.
Grace Christian is coming off a Jekyll and Hyde performance against Midway. In that game the Rams fell behind early, 21-7, before outscoring Midway 54-7 the rest of the way.
No matter which Grace Christian team shows up, RB/LB Will McKamey will play a major role in the Rams’ success. McKamey is a Navy commitment and rushed for more than 200 yards against Midway last week.
Harriman will no doubt play hard, but the Blue Devils don’t have the depth or experience to knock off the Rams… Grace Christian 35 Harriman 14.
Midway (4-4) at
Hancock County (2-6)
The Green Wave will make the long bus ride to Sneedville Friday night with the hopes of wrapping up a playoff berth.
Midway enters the game with a lot of confidence following wins in three of their last four games. During that stretch the Green Wave have opened up the passing game as QB Shandon Lyle has thrown for 719 yards and seven TDs in the past three weeks. Lyle is also Roane County’s leading rusher with 852 yards on the ground.
Mason Woody (14-351, 4 TDs) and Jonathan Beason (17-301, 1 TD) have become Midway’s playmakers in the passing game while Tyler Clark is Midway’s second leading rusher with 318 yards.
Hancock County is a hit or miss team on offense. In their two wins, the Indians are averaging 43 points per game, but they average just 9.2 points in their losses.
Defensively, Hancock County is giving up 37.1 points per game.
The drive to Sneedville will be a long one, but a fun one when all is said and done… Midway 34 Hancock County 20.
Wartburg (3-5) at
Oliver Springs (3-5)
The Bulldogs and Bobcats have turned into a good rivalry, and Friday night both teams need a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Both teams run similar offenses as they look for balance out of the spread.
Wartburg relies heavily on the arm of QB Austin Langley and play-making receiver Justin Crouch. Wartburg, however, also had a big line and a fast running back in Wes Mehlhorn.
Oliver Springs will run a little more with a trio of backs, Michael Nelson, Shawn Childress and Eddie Stephenson, that are all capable of carrying the ball 20+ times. Stephenson and Childress have combined for 762 yards rushing on the season while Nelson is back at 100 percent following an injury that cost him four games.
When the Bobcats throw, QB Brandon Buck (470 yards passing) will look for Roane County’s leading receiver, John Simms 22-328, 2 TDs). Keith Roberts has also stepped up of late in the Bobcats passing game.
Last year, the Bobcats used a senior-laden lineup on their way to victory. This year, the Bulldogs have the large senior class… Wartburg 27 Oliver Springs 21.
Goose’s Gander on other games of interest: Meigs County by 8 over Tellico Plains, Oneida by 28 over Sunbright, Coalfield by 35 over Cosby, Jellico by 6 over Oakdale, CAK by 28 over LaVergne, Alcoa by 14 over Fulton, Sequoyah by 7 over Loudon, McMinn Central by 7 over Stone Memorial, Cumberland Gap by 8 over Scott. Last Week 9-2; Overall 91-13.
Goose’s Gurus picks: Wartburg, Grace Christian, Midway, Jellico, Florida State, Georgia, Vanderbilt, LSU, South Carolina, Alabama. Last Week 6-4; Overall 74-16.