By Chad Withrow:
After a down week, Week 9 arrives with a flurry of good match-ups across the mid-state. This week features a little bit of everything. From old school battles for Rutherford and Sumner County supremacy to a marquis Division II game that no one saw coming in the preseason. Mix in a game that’s extremely important to folks in Smithville and LaFayette with one that will decide a Region Champion and you have yourself a “Friday Five” with a little something for everyone. As the weather turns very cold tonight, there are only 3 weeks remaining in the regular season and much left to be decided. It was difficult to narrow it down this week but here are my 5 biggest games in the mid-state for Week 9.
1) Oakland (8-0) @ Riverdale (6-1)
It’s the old school “Battle of the Boro” tonight and Region 3-6A may be on the line depending on what happens with undefeated Warren Co. the rest of the way. Oakland may be the best team in the state regardless of classification. They are undefeated and are averaging a 30 ppg margin of victory with teams scoring 10 or fewer points against them in all but one game. The Patriots are loaded and Kevin Creasy’s squad can beat you a number of ways. Led on the ground by big time college prospect Jordan James and through the air by Ian Schlacter (QB, Sr.) and Isaiah Horton (WR, Jr.), the Patriots have been impossible to stop thus far. Tasked with slowing them down will be an improved Riverdale squad in Year 5 under Will Kriesky. The Warrior defense has been stingy allowing just 13 ppg and their offense under OC Kelly Holcomb has gotten better and better after a sloppy performance in some bad weather in Week 1 against a very good CPA team. He also has a developing star in Sophomore QB Jameson Holcomb. Jameson also happens to be his son with an excellent bloodline given his father’s NFL career. And with senior leaders like C.J. Johnson (WR, Sr.), Javon Nelson (DE, Sr.), and Xaylyn Mckinnie (DB, Sr.), the Warriors hope they have what it takes to give themselves a chance to be in the game in the 4th quarter with a chance to pull off the upset. Jonathan Hutton, Josh Corey, and Max Herz will be on the call on MyTV30 tonight for this one.
2) Shelbyville (5-2) @ Summit (7-1)
The 104.5 The Zone Game of the Week is BACK where it all started back in Week 1. Summit beat Independence 40-34 in that game and have only lost once since. Find out all you need to know about the Spartans and star twin brothers Destin and Keaten Wade by listening to our interview with them and Head Coach Brian Coleman.
Shelbyville comes into this game riding a 3 game winning streak and averaging 38 ppg. First year head coach (and OC) Josh Puckett has good talent led by Elijah Malone (DB/WR, Sr.), Demarcus Smalls (RB/DB, Sr.), Savion Goodson (OL/DL, Sr.), Steve Sims (OL/DL Sr.), Max Hinojosa (OL Sr.), Angel Juarez (TE/DL Sr.), Kearius Conger (FB/DL Sr.), and Kade Cunningham (QB/S, Jr.). Should be a good one in Spring Hill tonight. Will Boling is on the call on 104.5 The Zone starting at 7pm.
3) Gallatin (3-4) @ Hendersonville (3-3)
At first glance a match-up of 3-4 vs. 3-3 teams doesn’t look overly appealing. But look deeper and you see two good teams that are products of very difficult schedules. Gallatin (losers to 6A Mt. Juliet, Collierville, and Wilson Central along with 5A power Henry Co.) is a program on the rise under 2nd year head coach Chad Watson. The Green Wave have strong leadership in Jaylen Grimmett (WR/DB, Sr.), Steven Halcomb (RB/LB, Sr.), Montez Banks (QB/DB, Sr.), Zion Robb (OL/DL, Sr.), Max Wingert (OL/LB, Sr.), Nick Kemp (OL/DL, Sr.), Mason Stanley (QB, Sr.), and Corey Hambright (RB/DB, Sr.) and this old school battle for Sumner Co. brings out the best in both of these teams. Hendersonville comes into tonight having lost to Oakland, Beech, and Independence. Those teams are a combined 17-2 on the season. Former Commando Football player James Beasley is in his 3rd year coaching his alma mater and has a great weapon at his disposal in Ellis Ellis (Jr.). He is also a member of the all-time “All-Names” team.
4) McCallie (5-1) @ Father Ryan (4-2)
Not many people thought that tonight’s game at Ryan would have major Playoff seeding implications but here we are after Father Ryan’s upset win at Baylor last week. Ryan was picked last in the Region and McCallie was picked to win the Region. Both of these teams sit a game behind Brentwood Academy in the standings and are looking to stay in the race this evening. Brian Rector is turning the corner in Year 5 and 14 returning starters from last year’s team is a big reason why the Irish are experiencing success. Some of those leaders include D.C. Tabscott (QB, Sr., Appalachian State Commitment), Brock Carlson (OL/DL, Sr.), Drake Carlson (OL/DL, Soph.), Eli Wilson (OL, Sr.), Blake Bostleman (OL, Sr.), Marcus Kennedy-Holt (OL/DL, Jr.), Amari Chapman (DL, Sr.), DuJuan Sharp (DB, Soph.), Devin Fisher (TE/DL, Jr.), Michael Hartz (RB/DB, Sr.), Dylan Timmons (LB, Sr.), Cole Becker (LB, Jr.), James Reed (DB, Jr.), Parker Erdman (WR/DB, Sr.), Josh Pfeifer (WR/DB, Sr.), and Parker Peterson (DL, Sr.). A gigantic opportunity awaits the Irish this evening.
5) DeKalb Co. (5-3) @ Macon Co. (6-1)
Long time rivals lock horns in Lafayette tonight as Region 3-4A will likely be decided in this one. Macon Co. comes into tonight’s contest a perfect 2-0 in the Region including an impressive 29-20 win over Stone Memorial two weeks ago. They are also rested after last week’s bye. The Tigers are led by Head Coach Kyle Shoulders and good players like Ethan Jenkins (RB/DB, Sr.), Landon Whittemore (WR/TE/DE, Sr.), Logan Whittemore (FB/DE, Sr.), and Cameron Houston (RB/DB, Jr.). DeKalb Co. comes into tonight’s game riding a 4-game winning streak including a big win over Livingston Academy two weeks ago. Head Coach Steve Trapp is in his 14th season at DeKalb Co. and has a really good team led by 17 returning starters (17!) including star QB Axel Aldino (Sr.).
Have a great and safe Football Friday night.
Happy Football, Everyone.