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By GOOSE LINDSAY
The first two weeks of the season have been great as county rivalries and non region contests have got football fans back in the groove. Now, however, it's time to turn it up a notch as region play starts Friday night for Kingston, Midway and Rockwood, and all three teams would like nothing more than to exit Friday night at the top of their respective region standings.
In Region 2-A, Craig Moser's Midway Green Wave will look to take the first step in defending their region title when they travel to Oakdale.
In Region 2-AA, Rockwood hosts Sweetwater in what is a huge game for both teams. Last season, the Tigers knocked off the Wildcats on the road and John Webb's squad would like nothing better to make it two in a row.
In Region 2-AAA, Kingston will host Livingston Academy in a game that the Jackets must win if they are to make the Class AAA playoffs at the end of the season.
Harriman and Oliver Springs will have to wait two weeks before making their region debuts as the Blue Devils and Bobcats are both off this week.
Midway (1-1) at Oakdale (1-0)
When Midway hosted Oakdale last year at this time it was the Waves holding a 41-0 lead at halftime and the rest was history as Midway rolled to a 55-16 victory.
Green Wave fans, however, might not want to take Oakdale lightly as new coach Randy Miller has the Eagles excited and they've also had two weeks to prepare for the Green Waves after opening the season with a 29-7 victory over Jellico.
Oakdale is solid this year with a big line and a talented backfield to lead the way.
The biggest surprise for the Eagles is the emergence of sophomore QB D.J. Currier. Currier threw for nearly 200 yards in Oakdale's opener and he gives the Eagles an athlete under center with a great arm.
Oakdale's other biggest weapons on offense are the RB duo of brothers Isaiah and Korbin Turner along with playmakers Ryan Young and Ryan Powers.
Midway should enter Friday's game with a big chip on their shoulder after last week's loss at Rockwood. In that loss, Midway's vaunted offense amassed just 158 yards and their defense couldn't get off the field.
For Midway to be successful Friday, Ray Robinson needs to have a big night after rushing for just 48 yards last week. If Robinson gets on track then Oakdale will have to stack the line and that will open the outside for speedster Will Poe.
A big night from Robinson will also help the passing game and that should be good news for QBs Quinton Pressley and Thomas Viar along with big play receiver Wakon Roberson.
Midway will be on upset alert this week when they travel to Morgan County to take on the Eagles. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Green Waves will also be UPSET... Midway 34 Oakdale 21.
Sweetwater (2-0) at Rockwood (1-1)
This one is a biggie for both teams as neither team wants to open region play with a loss with region heavyweights CAK, Loudon and Alcoa on the horizon.
For Sweetwater, QB Tyler Richesin leads a versatile offense that averages 41.5 points per game this season. In two games, Richesin has rushed for 286 yards and three TDs while adding 278 yards and four TDs in the air.
Sammy Blomstrom, Josh Berrong and Adam Worley are Sweetwater's other weapons.
Rockwood showed last week that the best way to stop a high octane offense is to keep them off the field. Against Midway, the Tigers offense ate up the clock and yardage in holding the Waves to 158 yards.
Like last week, Rockwood will need balance to beat Sweetwater. Against Midway, QB Tyler Parsons completed 61.5 percent of his passes and tossed two touchdowns while RBs Jeff Inman, Josh Brock and Ronnie Dyer combined for 187 yards on the ground.
This one should go to the wire with neither team considered a favorite. In close games, go with the team that has the best athlete and that's Richesin... Sweetwater 22 Rockwood 21.
Livingston Academy (0-2) at Kingston (1-0)
Looking at Livingston's record could be a mistake for Jacket fans as the Wildcats' losses have come against a pair of tough teams, Smith County and Trousdale County.
Livingston, however, has been outscored 63-7 in those two games and they have been out scored 74-14 in their last two contests with Kingston.
For Kingston to win, they need to simply play their game and that's to take it at the Wildcats with the three-headed backfield of James Sams, Alex Roberts and Brad Riddick leading the way.
Kingston, however, cannot afford the turnovers they had last week. Against Harriman, the Jackets allowed 18 points off turnovers and none of Harriman's scoring drives covered more than 40 yards and two of the three were less than 10 yards.
Kingston is a solid favorite to win Friday night, but Monday's game between Tennessee and UCLA proved what can happen if the big dog lets the underdog hang around. That won't be a problem for the Jackets... Kingston 31 Livingston Academy 7.
Goose's Gander on other games of interest: Oneida by 14 over Coalfield, Greenback by 21 over Sunbright, Alcoa by 20 over White House, CAK by 11 over Loudon, Scott by 28 over Stone Memorial, Knoxville Catholic by 1 over Austin-East, Anderson County by 6 over Fulton. Last Week 15-2; Overall 27-4.