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How does the first round of the playoffs stack up?

Douglas Fritz • Nov 3, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Area football teams in Northeast Tennessee locked in their playoff positions Friday night when the regular season was put in the books.

Here’s a glimpse at what those teams face in the first round, which begins this week.


William Blount (4-6) at Dobyns-Bennett (8-2)

The Governors’ best effort may have come in Week 7 against Elizabethton as that game was tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter. Other than that, their four wins came against teams with a combined total of five victories this season.

D-B doesn’t have the best history against Blount, losing to the Governors in the playoffs in 2001 and 2006. Blount also beat D-B in 2016 as one of only two wins that season for the Governors.

Playoff series: Blount leads 2-1. Favorite: Dobyns-Bennett (80%)

Science Hill (4-6) at Maryville (10-0)

There are very few flaws on the Rebels’ schedule this season. The close games were Alcoa (17-3) and Farragut (35-24) in the middle of the season, but since then Maryville has outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 225-40.

The Rebels boast 16 state titles and seven runner-up finishes. The most recent championship came in 2017.

Playoff series: Maryville leads 4-0. Favorite: Maryville (96%)


Gibbs (7-3) at Tennessee High (9-1)

Winners of four straight games, including an impressive 28-17 thumping of Knox Central on Friday, the Eagles could give the Vikings a challenge. They lost a three-way tiebreaker with Central and Halls in Region 2.

Gibbs has won just one postseason game since a Class 4A quarterfinal appearance in 2010.

Playoff series: First meeting. Favorite: Tennessee High (65%)

David Crockett (7-3) at Knox Central (8-2)

These teams, once ranked among the state’s top five, have combined for five straight losses.

The Bobcats are the defending state champions, and state runner-up in 2016, but have been outscored 66-27 in their last two games.

Playoff series: Central leads 1-0. Favorite: Central (60%)

Halls (7-3) at Daniel Boone (6-4)

After five straight wins to start the season, the Red Devils suffered three consecutive blowout losses by a combined margin of 143-24.

They have an up-and-down playoff history and know Washington County foes well. They went 1-1 against David Crockett over the last two years and defeated Boone in 2016.

Playoff series: Halls leads 1-0. Favorite: Boone (51%)

Cherokee (6-4) at South-Doyle (7-3)

South-Doyle may be better than its record indicates. One loss was to Class 4A power Anderson County and another was against No. 2-ranked Class 5A squad Powell. The 7-3 defeat to Seymour occurred after star running back Elijah Young was ejected on the game’s fifth play for a targeting call. The ruling was overturned and the suspension rescinded in the week following the loss.

The Cherokees reached the quarterfinals in 2017, the semifinals in 2016 and the quarterfinals in 2014.

Playoff series: First meeting. Favorite: South-Doyle (90%)


East Ridge (6-4) at Elizabethton (10-0)

It’s a new opponent for the Cyclones as the Pioneers have bounced back and forth between classes 3A and 4A.

East Ridge reached the Class 3A quarterfinals in 2015 and 2016 but didn’t run into the Cyclones for geographic reasons.

Against the four teams with at least seven wins on this year’s schedule, East Ridge scored a combined total of only 27 points.

Playoff series: First meeting. Favorite: Elizabethton (85%)

Sullivan South (5-5) at East Hamilton (7-3)

All of the Hurricanes’ losses came against quality opponents, and two were one-score finishes. Hamilton at times has been offensive (over 50 points four times) or defensive (four games allowing seven points or fewer).

The Hurricanes reached the Class 4A quarterfinals in 2014 and 2012 and the Class 5A quarterfinals in 2013.

Playoff series: First meeting. Favorite: East Hamilton (75%)


Gatlinburg-Pittman (8-2) at Unicoi County (6-4)

After a 7-0 start, the Highlanders lost two in a row, but those games were against Austin-East and Alcoa. They bounced back by taking down a solid Kingston team.

Pittman hasn’t made it past the second round of the playoffs since a 2010 quarterfinal loss to Elizabethton.

Playoff series: Unicoi leads 1-0. Favorite: Pittman (70%)

Johnson County (4-6) at Austin-East (7-3)

The Roadrunners lost to Alcoa, Greeneville and private-school Webb. They scored at least 32 points in every other game.

A-E owns three state titles, the most recent coming in 2001.

Playoff series: Austin-East leads 3-0. Favorite: Austin-East (92%)


Cumberland Gap (4-6) at Hampton (8-2)

It’s a comfortable matchup for the Bulldogs because the Panthers have just one playoff victory in school history, which came in 2007 against Happy Valley.

Cumberland Gap lost its first five games this season before winning four in a row.

Playoff series: First meeting. Favorite: Hampton (95%)

Sullivan North (5-5) at Oneida (6-4)

Momentum favors neither team because both have lost two in a row, including one-score defeats in Week 11.

The Indians are in the playoffs for the 13th straight season and have a career playoff record of 37-34. They have a capable offense but didn’t produce many points against the toughest teams on a difficult schedule.

Playoff series: First meeting. Favorite: Oneida (60%)

Happy Valley (7-3) at Meigs County (9-1)

This looks like a massive chore for the Warriors. The Tigers’ only loss was against Class 1A power South Pittsburg.

But if it’s a close game, maybe Happy Valley has a shot. Meigs lost by three points in the second round in 2016, by one point in the quarterfinals in 2017 and by three points in the semifinals last year.

Playoff series: Meigs leads 1-0. Favorite: Meigs (90%)


Harriman (3-7) at Cloudland (5-5)

Harriman was once a strong playoff threat, including a venture to Roan Mountain for a 60-56 loss to the Highlanders in its most recent appearance in 2016.

The Blue Devils haven’t been super competitive against the good teams on their schedule this year.

Playoff series: Harriman leads 2-1. Favorite: Cloudland (55%)

Unaka (2-8) at Greenback (8-2)

The Cherokees won the state in 2017, reached the semifinals last year and were state runner-up in 2015-16. Yes, the odds are against the Rangers.

Playoff series: Greenback leads 1-0. Favorite: Greenback (98%)

(Contact Douglas Fritz via email at [email protected])

TSSAA first-round playoff pairings

Friday, Nov. 8

(All games start at 7 p.m.)

Class 6A

William Blount (4-6) at Dobyns Bennett (8-2)

Bradley Central (7-3) at Farragut (5-5)

Bearden (4-6) at McMinn Co. (9-1)

Science Hill (4-6) at Maryville (10-0)

Lebanon (5-5) at Oakland (10-0)

Mount Juliet (6-4) at Riverdale (7-3)

Wilson Central (6-4) at Blackman (6-4)

Cookeville (5-5) at Hendersonville (5-5)

Franklin (5-5) at Cane Ridge (7-3)

Stewarts Creek (8-2) at Ravenwood (9-1)

Independence (6-4) at Smyrna (6-4)

McGavock (3-7) at Brentwood (8-2)

Germantown (2-8) at Houston (10-0)

Bartlett (6-4) at White Station (6-4)

Memphis Central (4-6) at Collierville (5-5)

Cordova (4-6) at Whitehaven (8-1)

Class 5A

Gibbs (7-3) at Tennessee High (9-1)

Halls (7-3) at Daniel Boone (6-4)

David Crockett (7-3) at Knoxville Central (8-2)

Cherokee (6-4) at South-Doyle (7-3)

Lenoir City (1-9) at Powell (10-0)

Fulton (3-7) at Rhea County (8-2)

Walker Valley (4-6) at Knox West (9-1)

Oak Ridge (5-5) at Soddy-Daisy (6-4)

Hunters Lane (3-7) at Page (9-1)

Summit (8-2) at Gallatin (9-1)

Hillsboro (5-5) at Shelbyville (9-1)

Columbia (6-4) at Beech (10-0)

Ridgeway (5-5) at Henry County (8-2)

Clarksville (6-4) at Munford (7-3)

Kirby (8-2) at Dyer Co. (8-2)

Kenwood (2-8) at Southwind (6-4)

Class 4A

East Ridge (6-4) at Elizabethton (10-0)

Howard (7-3) at Greeneville (8-2)

Sullivan South (5-5) at East Hamilton (7-3)

Grainger (6-4) at Anderson Co. (9-1)

Maplewood (3-7) at Livingston Academy (10-0)

Macon Co. (5-5) at Nolensville (8-2)

Tullahoma (7-3) at DeKalb Co. (6-4)

Stone Memorial (3-7) at Marshall Co. (8-2)

Jackson South Side (3-7) at Springfield (7-3)

White House Heritage (7-3) at Lexington (5-5)

Jackson North Side (6-4) at Creek Wood (8-2)

Portland (4-6) at Hardin Co. (9-1)

Craigmont (2-8) at Haywood (9-1)

Ripley (5-5) at Fayette Ware (8-2)

Bolton (1-9) at Crockett Co. (6-4)

Dyersburg (3-7) at Millington (8-2)

Class 3A

Kingston (6-4) at Chuckey-Doak (6-4)

Gatlinburg-Pittman (8-2) at Unicoi Co. (6-4)

Johnson Co. (4-6) at Austin-East (7-3)

West Greene (5-5) at Alcoa (9-1)

York Institute (3-7) at Loudon (10-0)

Sweetwater (7-3) at Smith Co. (6-4)

Sequatchie Co. (6-4) at Red Bank (8-1)

Signal Mountain (4-6) at Upperman (9-1)

Stewart Co. (6-4) at Pearl Cohn (10-0)

East Nashville (8-2) at Sycamore (5-5)

Camden (4-6) at Stratford (7-3)

Giles Co. (4-6) at Fairview (8-2)

Sheffield (1-9) at South Gibson (9-1)

Covington (8-2) at Melrose (6-4)

Raleigh Egypt (3-6) at Milan (5-5)

Westview (6-4) at Wooddale (8-2)

Class 2A

Cumberland Gap (4-6) at Hampton (8-2)

Rockwood (5-5) at South Greene (9-1)

Sullivan North (5-5) at Oneida (6-4)

Happy Valley (7-3) at Meigs Co. (9-1)

Westmoreland (5-5) at Tyner (7-3)

Marion Co. (2-8) at Trousdale Co. (8-1)

East Robertson (5-5) at Bledsoe Co. (7-3)

Tellico Plains (3-7) at Watertown (8-2)

Hickman Co. (5-5) at Forrest (10-0)

Eagleville (7-3) at Houston Co. (9-1)

Riverside (5-5) at Lewis Co. (7-2)

Summertown (6-4) at Waverly (6-4)

MAHS (6-4) at Peabody (10-0)

McKenzie (5-5) at Mitchell (8-2)

Douglass (6-4) at Union City (6-4)

Adamsville (4-6) at Fairley (8-2)

Class 1A

Harriman (3-7) at Cloudland (5-5)

Coalfield (7-3) at Hancock Co. (3-7)

Jellico (3-7) at Oliver Springs (8-2)

Unaka (2-8) at Greenback (8-2)

Jo Byrns (2-8) at South Pittsburg (9-0)

Sale Creek (4-6) at Clay County (7-3)

Gordonsville (3-7) at Copper Basin (6-4)

Whitwell (2-8) at Monterey (10-0)

Booker T. Washington (5-5) at Lake Co. (10-0)

Greenfield (7-3) at MASE (7-3)

Memphis East (6-4) at West Carroll (6-4)

Dresden (4-6) at Memphis Middle College (9-1)

Tipton-Rosemark (4-6) at DCA (7-3)

Fayette Academy (5-5) at Middle Tennessee Christian (4-6)

Mount Juliet Christian (3-6) at Columbia Academy (5-5)

Grace Baptist-Chattanooga (3-6) at USJ (7-3)

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