Week 8: East Tennessee
East Tennessee is providing some heavyweight bouts this week. Some of these may affect state power rankings at the top. At a minimum, these tilts will start defining playoff seeding and provide playoff atmosphere's for the fans and players. With the playoffs only four Fridays away, TNVarsity.com recommends that you buckle your chin strap tight and enjoy the ride.
Top 5 Games:
1. Maryville (7-0) @ Farragut (6-1)
Farragut has finished second in the district to Maryville every season since the defending 6A state champions moved up from 4A. Farragut's sole 2011 loss was to an undefeated Dobyns-Benentt in week zero by seven points. Every Maryville win except one is against teams that went to the playoffs in 2010. The Rebels closest game was to state power Aloca before the injury bug set up camp in the Tornado's locker room. Farragut's top 11 on both sides of the ball can battle Alcoa. Cody Rule (QB) and Jacob Johnson (RB) lead the Admirals. However, it would be a surprise if Farragut can overcome Maryville's depth, especially in the trenches. Maryville is led there by senior center Jay Guillermo (Clemson). Look for the Patton Robinette (North Carolina) led Rebels to wear down the Admirals to continue the dominance in this rivalry.
2. Oak Ridge (4-3) @ Hardin Valley (5-2)
The Oak Ridge Wildcats made a long playoff run in 2010 and many expected the 'Cats to be more dominant in 2011. HVA has Dorian Eskridge at running back and he has proven to be elusive at times and tough to bring down. If Oak Ridge is starting to get in position for another late season run, this could be a tough match up for the Hawks. Hardin Valley made the playoffs in just its second year of varsity play in 2010, but had an early exit at he hands of Devrin Young and the Bearden Bulldogs. The Hawks avenged that loss in week zero of 2011. HVA surprised Oak Ridge in 2010 and it may be the Wildcats wanting to get revenge this time around.
3. South Pittsburg (6-1) @ Boyd Buchanan (8-0)
South Pittsburg defated 6A Franklin County last Friday and the Pirates only loss this season has been to 2010 4A state champion Signal Mountain. Boyd-Buchanan is undefeated, but the Buccaneers haven't played as tough of a schedule as South Pittsburg. Grace Academy (4-3) and DCA (5-2) are the only two teams with winning records that Boyd-Buchanan has defeated. South Pittsburg rolled to victory with a 41-6 win in 2010 and Boyd-Buchanan won 20-12 in 2009. The Buccaneers rely on a stout running attack with Chase Reed, who has turned in a season-best 279 yards on 16 carries against Grace Academy. The Pirates counter with Jujuan Lankford, who had a 366-yard performance against Whitwell. Boyd-Buchanan's Jim Cardwell has only one loss as a starting quarterback for the Buccaneers the past two years.
4. Columbia (7-0) @ Baylor (6-1)
This is Baylor's second look at a defending state champion this season. The Red Raiders dispatched D-II AA Ensworth 42-14 at "Humpy" Heywood Stadium on "Red" Etter Field earlier this season. The last time these two teams met was in the state quarterfinals in 1977 at Columbia. Legendary Baylor coach E.B. "Red" Etter's squad defeated Columbia 21-10 with Troy Potter running for 109 yards on 13 attempts. Baylor went on to lose in the state championship game to Christian Brothers 22-19 that season. If the Lions win this game they will likely head into the playoffs undefeated. But Baylor is big up front on offense and defense and has a lot of weapons for quarterback Matthew Oellerich.
5. West Greene (5-3) @ South Greene (4-3)
TNVarsity.com loves these long time rivalries. Often the rivalries provide tough games that are laced with passion and total disregard for the records. But when looking at the records, make sure to look at the district foes and cross town rivals. While only one win separates these two teams, the district record may give a clearer picture. West Greene is 3-1 in district play while South Greene is 1-2. The Buffaloes seem to have played a little tougher schedule and has faired better against common opponents. The final answer may be Dalton Boles, the senior running back of the West Greene Buffaloes. He has amassed 1,968 yards on the ground for a 10.9 average per carry. Boles has 4.5 speed and bench presses more than 400 pounds. Ironically, the second leading rusher in the district is South Greene's Cole Baxley with 927 yards rushing and 8.4 yards per carry. Look for Boles to rush the Buffaloes to a victory and virtually lock down a playoff position.
Taylor Shuffler (Greeneville) continued to impress the opposition with 307 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
Patton Robinette (Maryville) was precise with his 6-of-7 passing effort for 131 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball five times for 128 yards and two TDs.
Bradley Stephens (Ooltewah) continued to put up big numbers this season by completing 28-of-47 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns in a loss 2-point loss to Bradley Central.
Reese Phillips (Signal Mountain) continued to show why he's a top prospect for the Class of 2013. The Eagles quarterback completed 19-of-26 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns, but Signal Mountain lost to Polk County on the road.
Cedric Edwards (Soddy-Daisy) rolled up 387 yards and scored five touchdowns.
Jajuan Lankford (South Pittsburg) ran for 187 yards and scored five touchdowns in a win over 6A Franklin County.
Garrett Miller (Oliver Springs) carried the football 15 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns 3 TDs and was 11-of-16 passing for 227 yards and a pair of TDs
Richard Seymour (Greenback) had a big night with more than 200 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
Niquia McDuffie (Red Bank) puts excitement into every play. The Lions quarterback had 258 yards total offense and scored two touchdowns and passed for one in a win over Brainerd.
Robert Wrinkle (Farragut) recorded nine tackles, including four for a loss and had a pass deflection.
Jerry Fain (Sequatchie County) moved over 1,000 yards rushing with a 229-yards performance against Whitwell.
Dillon Cate (Sevier County) nine tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss and a pass breakup.
Sam Perry (South-Doyle) had six tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss and caused a fumble.
Holden Boynton (Bledsoe County) scored two touchdowns and 191 rushing yards.
Bryce Copeland (Bradley Central) completed 7-of-9 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns.
Chad Voytik (Cleveland) completed 14 passes for 226 yards in a loss to McMinn County.
Logan Jackson (East Hamilton) carried the ball 15 times for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
Michael Nolan (Grundy County) had 14 attempts for 169 yards and three touchdowns in a big win over Upperman.
Al Akins (Polk County) threw a scoring pass and ran for three touchdowns in an upset win over Signal Mountain.