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High school football’s second season kicks off Friday night as three Roane County teams open play in the TSSAA playoffs.
Harriman, Rockwood and Midway all qualified for the playoffs. Two of the three, Harriman and Rockwood, will hit the road Friday night while Midway will be playing at home.
The Tigers and Blue Devils will both be making long trips. Rockwood will be traveling to Chattanooga to take on Silverdale Baptist Academy while Harriman heads to Lynchburg to take on Moore County.
Midway won’t have to worry about a long bus ride Friday night, but their opponent, Unaka, will have a long ride ahead of them in traveling South of the River to take on the Green Wave.
Harriman (4-6) at
Moore County (5-5)
Last week’s bye week came at a great time for Travis Tapp’s squad as the Blue Devils were beat and banged up following 10 straight weeks of action.
The Blue Devils are still banged up and will be missing several starters, but an open date will help plug some holes.
One thing for certain is that Harriman will look to get the ball in the hands of Garrett Greene and Kaleb Eleam. Greene is coming off a 301-yard performance against Meigs County while Eleam is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
Harriman’s opponent will present a lot of problems Friday night as the Raiders feature a multiple offense led by dual threat QB Dillion Davis.
Davis’ top targets will be Matt Taggett and Spencer Reece. Both will play in the backfield and at receiver, and both have big play ability.
Both teams are capable of putting up points if they’re clicking. Moore County, however, is at home and the long bus ride for Harriman could be the difference... Moore County 28 Harriman 21.
Rockwood (7-3) at
Road trips to Chattanooga over the years in the playoffs haven’t been kind to John Webb’s squad, but those trips have been to Boyd-Buchanan and the Tigers are hoping a different venue will lead to a different result.
Comparing the Tigers and Seahawks is easy, as both teams look to run first, control the clock and rely on their defense.
Both teams also have a 1,000-yard back leading the way. Josh Rogers is Silverdale’s leading rusher while Drake Long (1,322 yards) leads the Tigers ground attack.
Matt Millard, Matt McCullough and Lincoln Phillips will also tote the rock for Silverdale while Christian Domon, Tristan Ewing, Jason Gaus, Jared Kilby along with QB Jarrod Neerman adding balance to Rockwood’s ground attack.
When throwing, both teams also have a big TE to throw to as Silverdale will look to Colton Rogers while Rockwood looks to Malcolm Springs.
Hunter Grant gives the Tigers a playmaker down the field in the passing game.
This one won’t be fancy as the team that limits mistakes and controls the line of scrimmage will win. That’s been Rockwood’s calling card over the years... Rockwood 21 Silverdale 17.
Unaka (4-6) at Midway (7-3)
Through seven weeks of the regular season, the Rangers were 1-6 and the playoffs seemed a long shot for a team averaging only 6.9 points per game.
But suddenly the Rangers caught fire. They won their last three games and made their way into the postseason. In those games, the Rangers averaged 41.7 points per game.
A big reason for the change in the Rangers success has been the move of WR Austin Anderson from to RB. Anderson played the final four games of the season in the backfield and racked up 750 rushing yards.
Anderson will receive help from QB Eli Rasnick along with receivers Bobby Davenport and Micah Hunt.
Midway enters Friday’s game fresh off an impressive 38-21 victory at Greenback.
In that game, Shandon Lyle had a field day, rushing for 177 yards and one TD while passing for 191 yards and three TDs. He also returned an interception 80 yards for a score.
Lyle’s weapons in the passing game include Roane County’s top three receivers, Mason Woody (23-464), Zack Qualls (27-427) and Jonathan Beason (28-418). Christian Moore (10-171) is another weapon for Lyle in the passing game.
Unaka is on a roll and making the playoffs is a great story for a team that opened the season 1-6. However, the Ranger’s Cinderella story ends Friday night... Midway 33 Unaka 14.
Goose’s Gander on other games of interest: Greenback by 14 over Sunbright, Oneida by 14 over Tellico Plains, Alcoa by 49 over York Institute, CAK by 7 over Gatlinburg-Pittman, Elizabethton by 21 over Scott, Catholic by 8 over DeKalb County. Last Week 8-1; Overall 110-15.