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Week eight of the high school football season is here and what a big one it is as all five Roane County teams have huge district contests on the schedule.
In District 4-A, Oliver Springs travels to Sunbright in a huge contest for both teams.
In District 4-AA, Kingston travels to Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) in a game that the Jackets must win if the want to finish second in the district standings and earn an automatic berth to the TSSAA playoffs.
Two games are on the schedule in District 3-A. The first one will see Harriman hosting Grace Christian Academy at Wallace Black Field. The second contest will see Rockwood making the short bus ride to Midway.
Oliver Springs (4-3) at Sunbright (6-1)
Two high octane spread offenses hook up Friday night with playoff positioning on the line.
Sunbright enters Friday's contest with a sparkling 6-1 overall record and they are still in the think of the District 4-A race, but the Tigers haven't picked up a win against a quality opponent and many have circled this game to see if the Tigers are a pretender or contender.
While people aren't sure if the Tigers are for real or not, one thing that everyone agrees on is that Tiger QB Jessie England is a player. England's ability as both a runner and passer are the biggest reasons why the Tigers are averaging 40.6 points per game.
Getting Oliver Springs excited about playing Friday's contest could be a problem for Bobcat head coach Wiley Brackett. The Bobcats needed a victory over Oneida last week to stay in the district title race and Oliver Springs dropped the game after holding a 14-point lead at halftime.
If the Bobcats are ready to go, they have the potential to match the Tigers score for score.
Like England, Bobcat QB Garrett Miller can make plays on the ground and in the air. Miller, however, has another big gun by his side as Jordan Romero could see a lot of carries in an effort to pound the Tigers defense.
This could be a rough one for the Bobcats. If they're down in the dumps following last week's loss they'll get blasted. However, if they come looking for redemption, they have more weapons that the Tigers... Oliver Springs 32 Sunbright 28.
Kingston (5-2) at
Sound the sirens because the Kingston Yellow Jackets will be facing an all-out aerial assault in West Knoxville Friday night.
The unbeaten Warriors enter Friday’s contest averaging 327 yards passing per game with QB Quinn Epperly completing 75 percent of his passes to go along with 22 TDs and only five interceptions.
Epperly has a plethora of receivers to throw, with Davis Howell’s 52 catches and eight TDs leading the way.
Kingston will counter with more of a balanced attack as the Jackets average 176 yards per game rushing and 116 passing.
The trio of Aaron Fielden, Demarcus Foster and Coty Groves have combined for most of Kingston’s yards on the ground while Fielden, Jordan Jones and Robbie Szozda have been Kingston’s top targets in the passing game.
The Jackets need this one, but CAK is one of the best teams in the state and they’re coming off a bye week... CAK 28 Kingston 20.
Grace Christian (4-3) at Harriman (5-2)
The Rams and Blue Devils haven’t played a lot, but there’s definitely not a love-loss between these two teams as it was the Rams that ended the Devils season in the TSSAA Class A quarterfinals.
If Harriman is to get revenge Friday night, the Blue Devils must find a way to slow down a balanced Ram offensive attack that averages 36.7 points per game.
The QB combo of Parker Shelton and Tyler Duggins has combined for 1,250 yards passing and 18 TDs on the season while the one-two punch of Will McKamey and Jared Clinton have amassed a total of 949 yards rushing and 11 TDs on 120 carries.
Jake Minga is Grace’s leading receiver with 670 yards and 11 TDs.
Harriman will try to keep the high scoring Rams off the field with their grind-it-out “Super Power” rushing attack led by Dimitrique Inman (868 yards, 11 TDs) and Brandon Williams (598 yards, 5 TDs).
For the season, the Blue Devils average nearly 280 yards per game on the ground while QB Mark Chesser adds another 65 through the air.
Harriman has played very well for four straight weeks, but now can they handle success... Grace Christian 26 Harriman 21.
Rockwood (4-3) at
Two wins needing wins for different reason lock horns Friday night at Midway.
Midway enters Friday's contest simply wanting a win. The Green Waves have played well in spurts, but turnovers in the red zone and perhaps a lack of depth down the stretch have hurt Craig Moser's squad this season.
Midway, however, does have weapons with Aaron Collins leading the ground game while Dillon Davidson might be the best receiver in the county.
Rockwood, on the other hand, isn't looking for a win to boost morale, they need a win to keep their district championship hopes. After dropping a game against Greenback in week two, those hopes appeared dead, but a win over Grace Christian two weeks ago put the Tigers back in the title chase. Rockwood, however, cannot afford to drop a game at Midway this week.
For Rockwood to win this week, they must play with a passion that was missing in last week's loss against Wartburg.
When Rockwood comes to play, Dillon Deardorff and Collin Smith can make big plays on the ground while Lucas Jolley can put on a show through the air.
This game has become an intense rivalry over the years, but Rockwood appears to be a deeper team this year. That depth, along with a sour taste in their mouth after last week, should keep the Tigers in the district championship race... Rockwood 24 Midway 14.
Goose's Gander on other games of interest: Oakdale by 12 over King's Academy, Wartburg by 42 over Jellico, Oneida by 6 over Coalfield, Greenback by 24 over Tellico Plains, Loudon by 1 over Scott, Alcoa by 42 over Stone Memorial. Last Week 10-3; Overall 64-17.
Goose's Gurus Picks: Rockwood, Grace Christian, CAK, Oliver Springs, Loudon, Oneida, South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Nebraska. Overall 53-17.