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By GOOSE LINDSAY
Today is the day that a lot of Roane County football fans have been waiting on as practice in pads officially starts across Tennessee.
With the start of practice it's also a good time to look at some of the biggest games on tap in Roane County this season. Like always, the battle for county bragging rights take center stage, but there are also plenty of big games outside the county borders that will determine the postseason fate of Roane County's five teams.
Here are 12 of the biggest games heading into the season:
Harriman at Kingston
The season starts with a bang as these two bitter rivals hook up at Dr. Nat Sugarman Memorial Field in week one.
Kingston has won 16 straight in the series and the Jackets are always the favorite when these two teams hook up, but Kingston lost most of its starters from last season while Harriman returns a pair of explosive backs in Dimitrique Inman and Brandon Williams that will be looking to snap the streak.
Harriman at Midway
The Blue Devils won't have much time to get over their game with Kingston as they open their District 3-A season seven days later against Midway.
Midway will have a different look this year as 5,000-yard rusher Ray Robinson is gone along with speedster Will Poe.
The Green Wave will have a strong arm under center this year as sophomore Thomas Viar should make Midway's passing game a serious threat.
The winner of this game will take a huge step in earning a playoff berth while staying in the hunt for the district championship.
Kingston at Rockwood
Roane County's longest tenured coaches go head-to-head in this one as Vic King's Jackets visit John Webb's Tiger Den.
This game is what county rivalry games are all about as this one will be hard hitting with both teams looking to win the battle up front.
Rockwood at Tellico Plains
The Kingston game may be huge for the Tigers pride, but the biggest game on Rockwood's calendar is actually seven days later when the Tigers visit Tellico Plains.
With the TSSAA's new playoff format, Rockwood and Tellico Plains are the only two Class AA playoff teams competing in District 3-A and the team that finishes in the top half of the standing among teams in their playoff classification will earn a playoff berth.
To make a long story short, the Tigers could almost lock down a playoff spot with a victory over the Bears in week four.
Coalfield at Oliver Springs
These two teams pretty much hate each other and now they're in the same district so who knows what will happen at D.J. Brittan Field in week four.
Hatred aside, the winner of this game will still be in the running for the District 4-A championship while the loser will have to hear about it for a year.
Grace Christian at Midway
The Rams won Region 1-A last season and appear on track to building another private school power in Knoxville. If that's the case Midway and every other District 3-A opponent will have another tough team to battle on a yearly basis.
This year, however, Midway and Grace are both retooling after losing a lot of talent at the skill positions. Whichever team reloads the quickest will have the upper hand in this game that will have playoff implications.
Midway at Oliver Springs
These two teams haven't played a lot over the years, but this match-up will feature the only county battle featuring teacher vs. student as Oliver Springs head coach Wiley Brackett started his career at Midway under Green Wave head coach Craig Moser.
Moser and Brackett, however, won't suit up in this one as a young but talented Bobcat team will try win their only county game of the year.
Oliver Springs at Oneida
A lot of people have already awarded Oneida the District 4-A championship, but by week seven the youthful Bobcats could have a lot of experience and confidence as they head to Oneida's reservation.
If the Bobcats can get through Coalfield and Midway, there is a chance they could be undefeated for this encounter with last season's Class A semifinalists.
Midway at Rockwood
District 3-A is loaded with good teams and this could be for the top spot in the district standings in week eight. If not, it will most certainly be a battle for playoff positioning.
This game will also be strange for fans as these two teams have been opening the season with each other throughout the decade and now it won't be until mid October until the county's best green team is known.
CAK at Kingston
Kingston's schedule is difficult, but perhaps their two biggest games come in the final three weeks of the season as that's when they meet CAK and Loudon.
Under the new playoff format, Alcoa, Kingston, CAK and Loudon will earn two automatic playoff berths. The five-time defending state champion Tornadoes are expected to pick up one of those berths leaving the Jackets, Warriors and Redskins battling it out for the second spot.
If Kingston is to defeat the Warriors, their pass defense will have to be on top of its game as CAK brings in a spread attack that could set a record for pass attempts at Dr. Nat Sugarman Memorial Field.
Kingston at Loudon
TSSAA's new playoff format is a bit confusing, but it did place the Jackets and Redskins in the same district and that's good news for fans of both teams who didn't like it when the teams failed to meet on the gridiron the last two seasons.
This game should be a good one as both teams should be in the hunt for the playoffs heading into the final week of the regular season.
Rockwood at Harriman
It's about time that the Devils and Tigers are in the same district and playing on the final night of the season.
The only thing that could be better for Tiger and Devil fans would be if the state's longest running rivalry was for the District 3-A championship and there's a good chance it could happen.