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After months of weight lifting and five weeks of preseason practice, football season is finally here as all five of Roane County’s high school teams hit the field Friday night.
While a lot of teams have season opening games that don’t get the blood boiling, that’s not the case this week as a huge county rivalry game takes place at Harriman when the Blue Devils take on arch rival Kingston.
The remaining three Roane County teams will also play at home this week as Rockwood hosts Sweetwater, Midway entertains Wartburg, and Oliver Springs takes on Hancock County at D.J. Brittan Field.
Hancock County (0-1) at
Oliver Springs (0-0)
It’s a season opener and everybody knows that anything could happen, but on paper it appears the Bobcats should roll to an easy victory in this one.
Last season, the Bobcats travelled to Sneedville and blasted the Indians, 35-0. This season Wiley Brackett’s squad returns many of their skill players from that contest.
Leading the way for the Bobcats Friday night will be the 1-2 punch of Jordan Romero (1,292 yards rushing in 2009) and Garrett Miller (660 yards rushing, 995 yards passing in 2009).
Both will be involved in the game plan Friday night, but don’t be surprised if Coach Brackett spreads the wealth around a little more than normal in an effort to see what players will emerge to take the pressure of Romero and Miller.
Three possibilities to become more involved in the offense are RB Haven Williams along with the WR duo of Cory McBee and Michael Nelson.
Oliver Springs should put this one away by halftime and a lot of players should get a chance to show what they can do under the lights... Oliver Springs 42 Hancock County 6.
Wartburg (1-0) at
While this is Midway’s season opener, the Bulldogs already have a game under their belt as Dan Shoemaker’s squad knocked off Monterey last week, 26-7.
In that contest, the Bulldogs went to the air early and often as QB Rusty Phillips threw for a career-high 196 yards.
Adam Spence was Phillips’ No. 1 target with four catches for 74 yards while Wes Melhorn was on the receiving end of an 89-yard touchdown pass from Phillips.
Jaylon Shannon gives the Bulldogs a threat on the ground as he rushed for 81 yards last week.
Midway also has an established QB as Thomas Viar threw for 1,333 yards last year.
Dillon Davidson has emerged as Viar’s favorite target in the preseason.
Midway, however, must find a running game if they are to be successful this season and the duo of Aaron Collins and Larry Risner will look to answer the call Friday night.
The first game is usually the game where you make the most mistakes and that’s bad news for Midway. The second game is where you generally make the most improvement. That’s good news for... Wartburg 26 Midway 14.
Sweetwater (1-0) at Rockwood (0-0)
Last year, Sweetwater opened the season with back-to-back losses to Tellico Plains and Rockwood by identical 42-0 scores.
The Wildcats avenged the first of those two losses Friday night as the downed Tellico Plains, 27-12. They’ll gun for win No. 2 Friday night when they take on the Tigers at Civitan Field.
Sweetwater will rely heavily on junior QB Gavyn Davis if they are to beat the Tigers. In last week’s win over Tellico Plains, Davis passed for 128 yards and two TDs while adding 127 yards and one score on the ground.
The Tigers will look to spread the wealth amongst several players.
QB Lucas Jolley has shown the ability to put up big numbers through the air, but the main focus of the Tigers will still be running the football. Wing backs Dillon Deardorff and Collin Smith will see a lot of carries as will several different fullbacks.
Tiger fans probably felt this would be an easy win coming into the season, but after seeing what Sweetwater did to Tellico Plains they now know better. But the Wildcats also lost the element of surprise... Rockwood 17 Sweetwater 14.
Kingston (0-0) at
If you want a seat at Harriman’s Wallace Black Field Friday night you’d better get there early as a packed house is expected for the 2010 battle between the Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets.
Kingston enters Friday’s contest with a 17-game winning streak against the Blue Devils and that has to give Vic King’s confidence.
Kingston returns the bulk of their starting lineup from last year including the running back trio of Aaron Fielden, Demarcus Foster and Coty Groves. Last season the trio rushed for a combined 1,314 yards and 13 TDs.
Kingston, however, will be looking to break-in QB Darren Mossing who completed just three passes for 18 yards in 2009.
Harriman also returns a lot of talent from 2009 and will be led by RB Dimitrique Inman. Inman rushed for a county-best 1,372 yards and 17 TDs last season.
Inman will be joined by senior Brandon Williams who missed most of last season with off-the-field issues, but Williams has shown big play ability in the past and could make a run at 1,000 yards himself this season.
It will be hard for this year’s game to be better than last year’s 14-7 contest or the 20-18 game in 2008, but on paper these teams appear even. Is this the year that Harriman snaps the streak or will it be another year that the Blue Devils have their hearts broken by... Kingston 21 Harriman 20.
Goose’s Gander on other games of interest: Grace Christian by 14 over Grace Baptist, Greenback by 12 over Pigeon Forge, Sequoyah by 2 over Tellico Plains, DeKalb County by 3 over Oneida, Sunbright by 6 over Whitwell, Jellico by 12 over North Greene, Oakdale by 8 over Pickett County, Maryville by 7 over Alcoa, CAK by 14 over Seymour, Loudon by 10 over Lenoir City, Stone Memorial by 12 over Livingston Academy, Scott by 7 over York Institute.
Goose’s Gurus Picks: Kingston, Rockwood, Wartburg, Oliver Springs, Maryville, Oak Ridge, Loudon, Oakdale, Fulton, CAK.