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November 20, 2012For the 24 teams remaining in the hunt for the 2012 BlueCross Bowl state championships in Tennessee's six Division I non-financial aid classifications Friday's games are the biggest of the year.
A victory will send the winners to Cookeville to play for the state championship. A loss gives more of a meaning to the term Black Friday for those who are left to turn in their equipment.
In some cases, the best match-ups in the state playoffs happen in the semifinals. The games this Friday should be no different.
There are three undefeated teams alive in 6A.
Maryville (13-0) travels to Siegel (13-0) and Mt. Juliet (12-1) is on the road to Memphis to face Whitehaven (13-0).
The Maryville and Siegel game was set to be a marquee match-up before Stars quarterback Brent Stockstill suffered a possible season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter against Riverdale last week.
A year ago it was undefeated Riverdale that had quarterback Dillon Woodruff injure his knee the week before playing Maryville.
Rebels head coach George Quarles and his staff continues to put together game plans to knock off the most recent Maryville challengers.
A rematch of Rodney Saulsberry's Whitehaven Tigers and Maryville could happen again in Cookeville. Whitehaven's only challenge this season was a one-point victory over White Station.
Stump's 6A Pick: Maryville over Siegel and Whitehaven over Mt. Juliet
Possibly the most intriguing game could be in 2A where Boyd-Buchanan (12-1) visits defending state champion Friendship Christian (11-1) in Lebanon.
Coach Grant Reynolds and his Buccaneers are on a mission that started last season when Friendship Christian eliminated Boyd-Buchanan in Chattanooga.
The Bucs players and fans still have the vision of Commanders' running back Brennan Swindoll hitting the ground at the 2-yard line and bouncing into the end zone on fourth-and-goal in overtime to end their season, 21-20.
Reynolds thought his team had a good opportunity to bring back the gold ball from Cookeville in 2011.
"We felt like if we got by Friendship Christian we had a good chance," Reynolds said.
During preseason, the prediction was that Boyd-Buchanan would get another shot at Friendship Christian in 2012.
Now it's back to the future with the Bucs and Commanders putting their seasons on the line.
Quarterback Jim Cardwell has had a tremendous season operating behind a strong offensive line that includes big Malik Brewer.
On defense, Rance Harden (LB), Austin Hall (LB), Colton Robinson (DL), Austin Bailey and Grant Mathis have played well.
Stump's 2A Pick: Boyd-Buchanan over Friendship Christian and Adamsville over Dresden
Christian Academy of Knoxville quarterback Charlie High and his high-octane offense made a huge step toward a repeat as the Class 3A state champions last week by defeating Alcoa 38-36.
CAK (13-1) travels to the Northeast Tennessee to play Elizabethton (11-2)
Coach Rusty Bradley is the master of the Warriors' video game offense and High operates the controller.
High has passed for 4,314 yards and 48 touchdowns in 2012 and has thrown for 10,134 yards in his career
High needs 386 yards to set a new Tennessee state record for yards passing in a career.
CAK Wide receiver Davis Howell has a state-record 333 career receptions and needs 17 receptions to set an all-time national record.
Coach Ingle Martin has Christ Presbyterian Academy (13-0) back in the semifinals against Milan (11-2).
CPA lost to Milan 16-14 in the 3A semifinals in 2011 and like Boyd-Buchanan is seeking a different fate Friday.
Quarterback Albert Mitchell threw for three TDs and Chase Smith rushed for 188 yards and two TDs in CPA's 37-21 victory over Cheatham County.
Stump's 3A Pick: CAK over Elizabethton and CPA over Milan
Here's the remaining picks in the journey to Cookeville.
1A: Gordonsville over Coalfield and Huntingdon over Nashville Christian
4A: Knoxville Fulton over Giles County and Covington over Liberty Magnet
5A: Columbia over Powell and Beech over Jackson Northside