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The 2014 season got off to a great start for Roane County teams last week as all four teams that played picked up victories.
All five teams will be in action this week, but most will have to find a way to win on the road if week two is to be another successful week.
Rockwood will be the only team playing at home this week as John Webb’s squad hosts Wartburg.
Two teams will be playing relatively close to home as Kingston visits Grace Christian while Harriman heads north to take on Sunbright.
Oliver Springs and Midway will be on the road, and the bus ride will be a long one. The Green Wave head south to take on Whitwell while Wiley Brackett’s Bobcats travel to Fentress County to take on York Institute.
Midway (1-0) at
This one should be a good one as both teams return most of their talent from last year’s game in which Midway won at home, 53-50.
Whitwell returns eight starters on both sides of the ball and it was the trio of Tyler Tate, Clay McHone and Cody Ingrassia that gave the Green Wave fits 52 weeks ago. All three return to an offense that is averaging 49.8 points per game dating back to week seven a year ago.
Midway, however, is also capable of putting up a lot of points. The Green Wave scored 48 last week against Tri-Cities Christian, and they did so in a variety of ways as QB Mason Woody, RB Tanner Seymour and WR Jonathan Beason all put up big numbers.
This one has the makings of another shootout and could be decided by Midway having to take a long bus ride on a hot afternoon… Whitwell 36 Midway 35.
Harriman (1-0) at
The Blue Devils looked great last week in their season opener. Sunbright, on the other hand, had a rough night against King’s Academy. With that being said, Blue Devils head coach Travis Tapp knows his opponent from Morgan County is dangerous.
In last week’s loss, Sunbright was without its leading weapon in RB Skylar Bunch. He will be back this week and his presence alone will make the Tigers balanced and give QB Luke Daniel and WR John Stephens a chance to make plays in the passing game.
Harriman was also balanced last week. The ground game was its usual powerful self with Garrett Greene and Monte Ewing leading the way, but what surprised a lot of folks was the passing game as QB Brantley Taylor was a perfect 5-for-5 for 133 yards with 3 TDs.
Harriman will be on upset alert this week against a dangerous opponent, but Travis Tapp’s Blue Devils seem focused and will not slip up in their second outing… Harriman 35 Sunbright 20.
Wartburg (0-0) at
Tiger head coach John Webb’s squad answered a lot of questions last week in its 14-13 victory at Oneida.
The Tigers answered the question of how they will respond to adversity, and QB Will Warner answered the question of how would he respond to the pressure of being the starting quarterback by engineering two scoring drives in the final 3:37 of play.
About the only thing Tiger fans didn’t see last week was a lot of yards on the ground as the Indians limited Rockwood to 91 yards rushing. Rockwood will look to improve on that number this week against a defense that lacks depth.
Depth is a major concern for the Bulldogs as they have less than 30 players on the roster.
The Bulldogs, however, do have some speed with Johnny Craig, Justin Durham and Chasen Jones leading the way.
Rockwood’s size advantage combined with Wartburg’s lack of depth and 94-degree temperatures on Friday made this a favorable match-up for the home team… Rockwood 33 Wartburg 14.
Oliver Springs (1-0) at
York Institute (0-1)
The Bobcats are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself in 2014.
In 2013, the Bobcats won easily in week one while York was crushed, but seven days later, the Dragons put a whipping on Wiley Brackett’s squad at D.J. Brittan Field.
This year’s game will be played in Jamestown, but the Dragons will field a young team with only three starters returning on offense.
Two sets of brothers, Mason and Dillon Cravens along with Caleb and Ethan Probst, will lead the Dragons on offense while MLB Ethan Wright is the leader on defense.
Oliver Springs put up solid numbers last week using a balanced attack as QB Brandon Buck led the way with more than 200 yards through the air. Taylor Murray proved to be Buck’s favorite target with more than 100 yards receiving. Markus Miller gave the Bobcats a threat on the ground with almost 100 yards rushing.
Last year’s score and a long bus ride favor the Dragons, but don’t count these Bobcats out… Oliver Springs 24 York Institute 20.
Kingston (0-0) at
Grace Christian (1-0)
The Kingston Yellow Jackets have a tall task in front of them Friday night if they are to open the 2014 season with a victory. Their opponents from Grace Christian are among the top teams in Class 2A and haven’t lost a regular season game at home since September 2010, winning 18 straight.
The Rams are big up front this year and will look to the one-two punch of Cameron Kuerchen and Kyron Inman to pound the ball at the Jackets.
Kingston will look to counter the size of the Rams with a spread offense that will look to get the ball into the hands of Preston Edmonds and Maurice Lane in space while keeping things hones with Rhett Jones pounding the ball between the tackles.
Kingston will be a much-improved team in 2014, but that might not be enough this week… Grace Christian 28 Kingston 14.
Goose's Gander on other games of interest: Gatlinburg-Pittman by 7 over Greenback, Tellico Plains by 6 over Andrews, Knoxville Catholic by 21 over Coalfield, Oneida by 14 over Hampton, Oakdale by 24 over Pickett County, Tri-Cities Christian by 1 over Jellico, Maryville by 7 over Alcoa, CAK by 14 over Powell, Scott by 35 over Cumberland County. Last Week 15-1; Overall 15-1.