Here’s a look at seven things revealed during Friday night’s first round of the TSSAA football playoffs.
1. Dobyns-Bennett didn’t have any trouble putting back-to-back losses in the rear-view mirror.
Even though one of the two setbacks came against one of the best teams in the state — Alcoa — the Indians entered the game against William Blount without a lot of momentum.
No problem. D-B whipped the Governors 35-7 and did so in convincing fashion.
2. If Maryville doesn’t win the Class 6A title, the team that beats the Rebels is going to be some kind of crazy good.
It’s hard to imagine a better overall team than the Rebels. As is typically the case with this program, this year’s team isn’t flashy. It simply plays the game of football well across the board. Pick any area of the game — blocking, tackling, passing, running, execution, ball-hawking, teamwork, kicking, coaching, reading keys, pass coverage, play selection, etc. — and the Rebels grade out with an A.
Science Hill couldn’t get anything done in a 42-0 loss. This was the same Science Hill team that beat D-B two weeks earlier.
3. Daniel Boone’s run to the second round defies logic.
Go back to Week 7. Boone was 1-4 and a playoff berth wasn’t even guaranteed. It was as if the Trailblazers took a deep breath said, “OK, let’s do this.” They haven’t lost since, and the 32-3 win over Halls was shocking in terms of the margin of victory. By comparison they beat the Red Devils by one more point than South-Doyle — Boone’s next opponent — did three weeks ago.
4. Sullivan South looks like it believes it has unfinished business at Citizens Bank Stadium.
After getting whipped 42-7 in Week 11 by Tennessee High, it looked like the Rebels might be out of juice. Not so. A 28-24 road upset of East Hamilton means South will get a chance to avenge its one-point loss two weeks ago to No. 1-ranked Elizabethton.
5. Region 2 was a league too tough for Region 1 at the Class 3A level.
It was no contest as the top three seeds from Region 2 combined for wins of 50, 41 and 41 points. The No. 4 seed, Kingston, put an exclamation point on the domination with a 22-point win over Region 1 top seed Chuckey-Doak.
6. Hampton may be playing as good as any team in the state right now.
Over the last five weeks, Hampton has allowed a total of six points. That’s better than state powers like Alcoa (12), Pearl-Cohn (17), Peabody (17), Maryville (21), Greenback (32), Trousdale County (33), Oakland (34), Ravenwood (36), Meigs County (42) and Greeneville (46).
How many times do those schools get mentioned in the same breath as Hampton? And the Bulldogs are also among the state’s top scoring teams in that stretch with 239 points.
The latest victim was Cumberland Gap in a 50-0 decision.
7. Regardless of the future, Cloudland has turned this into a respectable season.
Much like Boone, the Highlanders were struggling with a record of 2-5. One and done looked like their playoff story.
But Cloudland took care of Jellico before crushing Johnson County and knocking off Sullivan North in overtime. The 28-7 playoff win over Harriman guaranteed at least a .500 season.
Contact Douglas Fritz via email at [email protected]