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November 1, 2011
4A, 5A and 6A playoff predictions
It's Day 2 of trying to select the teams who will play for the Tennessee state championship in each classification.
Today TNVarsity.com offers up the finalists in 4A, 5A and 6A.
Defending 4A state champion Greeneville appears to be ready to make another run towards what would be the Greene Devils third consecutive title game.
Greeneville (9-1) lost to Morristown West 14-10 on Aug. 26 and the Greene Devils didn't have another test the rest of the season.
Nevertheless, how tough has the Greenville schedule been in 2011?
Livingston Academy (8-2) and DeKalb County (8-2) could be the toughest competition in the upper bracket for Greeneville.
However, roll the dice for a state championship game opponent for Greeneville.
The team that had the best opportunity to reach the finals was Signal Mountain.
However, the Eagles were forced by TSSAA to vacate wins after it was determined they had an ineligible player.
This left the 2010 2A state champions home for the playoffs.
Star running back Ryan Halliburton was a big reason for Lexington to win another District 14-AA championship and post a 10-0 record.
Are the Tigers good enough to make the state finals after coming from behind to defeat Bolivar (6-4), 27-20 on Oct. 21?
Memphis Mitchell (7-3) is normally a solid choice to play for the 4A state championship.
However, a loss to 2-8 Melrose and a 48-0 loss to Whitehaven make Mitchell a question mark.
Maplewood (7-3) is the pick to make it to Cookeville and face Greeneville.
Coach Arcentae Broome isn't afraid to have his Panthers play the best teams in the state.
Maplewood's three losses are to D-II AA power Brentwood Academy, 6A Riverdale (10-0) and 3A Pearl-Cohn.
Maplewood advanced to the semifinals in 2010 before losing 17-7 to Greeneville. This time around, the Panthers are in the lower bracket and that repeat match-up should be for the 4A championship.
If you believe the latest Associated Press poll then Powell (10-0) and Henry County (10-0) should play for the state championship.
The two teams are tied for No. 1 in the final AP Top 10 poll released on Monday.
Coach Matt Lowe's Panthers have been impressive during the 2011 regular season.
A 21-17 victory over Oak Ridge on Sept. 8 is the only challenge that Powell has had this season.
Powell's Dy'Shawn Mobley is an outstanding high school football player. He is one of the top backs in Tennessee and equally as impressive as a linebacker.
Quarterback Dustin McPhetridge is another threat that has made the Panthers an offensive scoring machine.
However, the overall record of the teams that Powell defeated in 2011 is 38-62.
Meanwhile, defending 5A state champion Columbia has played six teams that made the playoffs. The Lions only loss was to D-II AA Baylor (9-1).
Coach Vance Belew's Columbia squad will look to his son Eric Belew, who has committed to Memphis, and running back Chris Martin to lead the way offensively.
If Powell and Columbia keep winning, they will meet until the semifinals Nov. 25. Columbia is polished. has been there before and should reach the finals.
In the bottom bracket, Henry County (10-0) and Gallatin (9-1) could be the two teams with the best chances to make it to the semifinals.
However, Ridgeway (7-3) and Memphis East (7-3) have big-time football talent.
Ridgeway has QB Jamil Golden (6-4, 207); running back Jaylen Walton (Ole Miss), running back Sheldon Dawson (Memphis), offensive lineman Cordale Boyd (Arkansas) and defensive end Brandon Lewis (Arkansas).
Memphis East running back Brian Kimbrow (Vanderbilt) is the Rivals.com No. 1 Tennessee prospect. Quarterback Will Redmond (Mississippi State) is one of the most recruited players in the south and can make a big play on any snap.
The dynamic duo will run behind offensive lineman Latarius Brady (Arkansas State).
Henry County lost to Hendersonville in the second round of the 5A playoffs in 2010 and in the second round to Gallatin in 2008.
Sumner County has had a team in the championship game the past two seasons and Coach Robert Lassiter has his Gallatin squad ready to get there in 2011 to play Columbia.
Thought this classification would be easy.
Maryville (10-0) and Riverdale (10-0) would be simple selections to make the state championship game.
However, the two 6A powers were placed in the top bracket and could play on Nov. 25 in the semifinals.
A rematch with Blackman could be a different story than the first meeting between the two schools this season. Blaze running back I'Tavius Mathers (Ole Miss) was injured early in the game and Riverdale took a 28-21 win.
If both teams win on Friday Blackman and Riverdale will meet again the following week. A healthy Mathers could make for a different outcome.
Coach George Quarles could have the best Maryville team he's coached.
Patton Robinette (North Carolina) is a polished quarterback who directs the Rebels attack with near perfection.
The Maryville defense is what has set the defending 6A champions aside in 2011.
Although, Maryville isn't playing the competition weekly that Riverdale does.
All that being said, Maryville should come out of the upper bracket and play for another state title.
Whitehaven is loaded in talent and speed and Coach Rodney Saulsberry is focused on getting the Tigers into the state championship game.
Like Maryville, Whitehaven's defense is special. The Tigers have had six shutouts and two games where the defense allowed only one touchdown in each.
Mt. Juilet is good with a capital "G."
Coach Roger Perry has his Golden Bears on track to make it to the championship game.
Mt. Juliet has destroyed good teams in 2011.
The Bears defeated playoff teams Beech 49-25, Gallatin 52-20, Cookeville 52-0 and Hendersonville 41-10.
However, unless Whitehaven is caught on a muddy field on a cold night where the Tigers speed is neutralized they should play Maryville for the 6A state title.
Tomorrow we conclude with D-II AA and D-II A predictions.