By Chad Withrow:
We have arrived at the finish line of the 2020 regular season and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that it all felt like a dream. This season was tough. There were many cancellations, postponements, and games changing last minute because of the pandemic. But yet, here we are in the final week of a high school football season I hope to never see again as long as I’m alive. I’m thrilled that games were played and I’m proud of the way administrators, coaches, and players conducted themselves. This sport is important for the fabric of these schools, communities, and (most importantly) the development of the young men that play. And play they did. The final week provides us some great match-ups across the mid-state. Some are for Region championships and others are for Playoff seeding. Either way, we are in for a treat and (hopefully) not a trick. Here are my 5 biggest games in the mid-state for Week 11.
1) Creek Wood (9-0) @ Springfield (8-1)
The MyTV30 “Friday Night Rivals” Game of the Week rolls to the Home of the Yellow Jackets tonight as Springfield hosts Creek Wood in a battle that will decide Region 5-4A. It’s been a historic season for Creek Wood and business as usual for Springfield under Dustin Wilson. Full disclosure, I will be on the call tonight with Jonathan Hutton and Max Herz. And I can’t wait to watch these two battle it out.
2) Ravenwood (5-4) @ Independence (6-1)
Independence surprised a lot of people when they beat Brentwood a week ago. They can win Region 6-6A outright and capture a #1 seed in the Playoffs with a win over Ravenwood tonight. A Ravenwood win would lead to a 3 way tie atop the Region with these two teams joined by Brentwood. Scott Blade of Independence is one of the best coaches in the state and Ravenwood is super talented led by Michigan commit Junior Colson and Clemson commit Jake Brinningstool. This one is for all the marbles tonight in Thompson’s Station.
3) Hendersonville (6-3) @ Mt. Juliet (6-2)
It seems like the Commandos and the Golden Bears are playing to decide a Region title every year and that’s the case again tonight in Mt. Juliet. It is winner take all this evening. After losing back to back games to Rossview and Oak Ridge, MJ recovered nicely with an easy win against Station Camp last week. Hendersonville comes into tonight’s contest riding high off a 3 game win streak including back to back beat downs of rival Gallatin (46-0) and a very good Rossview (42-21). Kick-off is 7pm at the Cave.
4) Oakland (9-0) @ Warren Co. (8-1)
This would normally be my top game of the week given the incredible “feel good” story of Warren Co. and that tonight’s game is for a Region title. But just like there is nothing “normal” about 2020, there is nothing normal about this Oakland squad. They are loaded with a capital L and may be the best team in the state regardless of classification. This season has been incredible for the Pioneers and it will continue on to the Playoffs next week but tonight could be ugly… because every game Oakland has played this season has been ugly for their opponent.
5) Pearl-Cohn (5-0) @ Giles Co. (3-6)
It’s another Region Title game tonight as Region 3-5A will be decided in Pulaski. Pearl-Cohn opened the season with their backs against the wall because of COVID-19 restrictions in Metro Nashville shrinking their season. They’ve responded brilliantly starting with a Double OT win over Hillsboro in a game that was scoreless at the end of regulation. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster for Giles this season but the highs have been good enough (42-13 over Columbia, 29-0 over Millington) to make me believe that if they play close to perfect, they can make it a game against a Firebirds team trying to get back to Cookeville with a chance at a state championship.
Have a great and safe Football Friday night.