Tigers, Jackets gear up for gigantic battle

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By Goose Lindsay

Last week was a good week of football for Roane County fans as Kingston, Oliver Springs and Midway all picked up wins while Rockwood played very well in a 12-7 loss at the hands of Class 2A No. 1 ranked Grace Christian Academy.

This week could be a little tougher as Oliver Springs and Harriman both have tough road games at Class 3A opponents. Oliver Springs will be at Sweetwater while Harriman travels to Baxter to take on Upperman.

The marquee match-up in Roane County this week takes place at Dr. Nat Sugarman Memorial Field as Kingston hosts Rockwood.

Midway will be off this week following last week’s 38-14 victory at Pickett County.

Harriman (0-2) 

at Upperman (2-1)

Last week’s open week couldn’t have come at a better time as Harriman head coach Travis Tapp must figure out a way to jump start an offense that has scored seven points this season.

If Harriman is to put more points on the board, the Blue Devils must find a passing game to take the pressure off RB Lucas Lunsford. Lunsford rushed for almost 1,000 yards last season, but has just 60 yards through two games this season.

In their first two games, Harriman has thrown for just 18 yards through the air although Chris Works is a true No. 1 receiver.

Harriman will probably need a lot of points as Upperman enters Friday’s contest averaging 32.3 points per game.

QB Connor York is the leader of the Bees offense both on the ground and through the air. RB Gabe Luna and WR Jared Case are also playmakers for Upperman. 

One thing that could help the Blue Devils is turnovers as Upperman has given the ball away 10 times in the last two weeks.

Goose’s Gander

The week off should help Harriman’s offense, but not enough to sting the Bees… Upperman 35 Harriman 20.

Oliver Springs (1-2) 

at Sweetwater (3-0)

Like Harriman, Oliver Springs also scored just seven points in their first two games, but that all changed last week as the Bobcats scored 55 points in the first half alone in a 62-6 victory over Oakdale.

Bobcat head coach Wiley Brackett is hoping his squad is starting to find their grove after replacing eight starters from last year.

Freshman QB Brandon Buck showed a lot of poise last week as he completed 4 of 5 passes for 84 yards. He also threw the first touchdown of his career to Austin West.

Shawn Childress also had a big week on offense as he rushed for 99 yards and three TDs against the Eagles.

But perhaps bigger than all the improvements on offense last week for the Bobcats was the return of senior LB Seth Morgan. 

Morgan was all over the place on defense against Oakdale and he must have another great game if Oliver Springs is slow down a Sweetwater offense that averages 37.3 points per game this season.

Sweetwater’s offense basically comes down to slowing down QB Jordan McGaughey and RB Eli Arwood as both have put up huge numbers so far this season. 

WR Hunter Humphries has a 100-yard receiving game this season.

Goose’s Gander

Oliver Springs might be feeling good about last week’s 56-point victory, but Sweetwater is a much better opponent and the Wildcats are at home… Sweetwater 28 Oliver Springs 14.

Rockwood (1-2)

at Kingston (3-0)

If you want to get a seat at Dr. Nat Sugarman Memorial Field on Friday, you might want to arrive early as a packed house is expected for the 2012 battle between the Yellow Jackets and Tigers.

Kingston enters the game with a lot of confidence thanks to a 3-0 start in which the Jackets have allowed just 13 points, only seven of which were given up by Kingston’s starters.

Offensively, Kingston has been a model of efficiency as the Jackets are averaging 35 points per contest.

FB Brody Roberts has been a battering ram through three games and he leads all Roane County players with seven TDs. Rhett Jones and Dustin Kitts have also come up with big plays on the ground for the Jackets. 

Kingston hasn’t thrown much this season, but QB Brandon Ott has completed 12 of his 17 passes with TEs Ben Redden and Aaron Acosta being his main targets.

Despite a 1-2 record, Rockwood also enters Friday’s contest with a lot of confidence. Most of that confidence comes following last week’s 12-7 loss against No. 1 ranked Grace Christian.

Like Kingston, Rockwood also relies heavily on their run game. Through three games, the Tigers are averaging 257.7 yards per game with Kyron Inman (303 yards), Clay Cisson (175 yards), Tyler Skidmore (124 yards) and Drake Long (153 yards) all capable of making plays on the ground.

And like Kingston, the Tigers don’t throw a lot as Rockwood has attempted just seven passes over the past two weeks. QB Jared Breazeale, however, did complete all three of his passes last week for 52 yards and TE Hayden Freels (6-85) is a big play receiver.

Goose’s Gander

This one has all the makings of a classic as both teams are physical on defense and want to run the ball on offense. These type games are usually decided by turnovers and Rockwood has turned the ball over seven times in their two losses… Kingston 21 Rockwood 14.

Goose’s Gander on other games of interest: Coalfield by 28 over Tellico Plains, Greenback by 21 over Wartburg, CAK by 14 over Grace Christian, Cumberland Gap by 2 over Oneida, Tri-Cities Christian by 6 over Oakdale, King’s Academy by 2 over Jellico, Alcoa by 21 over Austin-East, McMinn Central by 6 over Loudon, Scott by 8 over Claiborne. Last Week 9-0; Overall 38-4.

 Goose’s Gurus Picks: Kingston, Sweetwater, Upperman, Greenback, Alcoa, LSU, Missouri, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Tennessee. Last Week 10-0; Overall 26-4.