McMinn County (7-2, 5-0) at Bradley Central (7-2, 5-0)
Coaches: McMinn’s Bo Cagle, Bradley’s Damon Floyd
Interesting stats/facts: Both teams are coming off wins, McMinn over Soddy-Daisy and Bradley over Cleveland in a nationally-televised game. ... Bradley has won four in a row and had three straight games scoring 40 or more points until last week’s 18-0 decision over Cleveland. McMinn has a five-game win streak since a 24-14 loss to Farragut. ... Both teams have a private-school loss, Bradley to Baylor and McMinn to McCallie. ... McMinn has won four of the last five but the lone Bradley victory came last year.
What to watch: One might have expected an offensive shootout but Floyd last week was praising his unsung defense after its shutout of Cleveland. Still, Bradley excels offensively with quarterback Bryce Copeland, versatile running back Justin Houston and receiver James Stovall. McMinn quarterback Nathan Simbeck has grown into the position and is completing better than 60 percent of his passes, the majority of which have gone to Cedric Nevins, Blake Powers and Brandon Davis. The running game leader has bounced from Dre Sanders and Dylan Plaster and Patrick Lindsey.
Notre Dame (5-4, 0-4) at Grundy County (5-4, 1-3), 8
Coaches: Notre Dame’s Josh Sellers, Grundy’s Nick Bryant
Interesting stats/facts: Irish are looking for their first non-losing season since a 5-5 in 2007 under Charlie Wiggins. ... Grundy has won the last three games but two of those wins are by a total of five points. ... Grundy County coach Nick Bryant is in his third year and looking for the Yellowjackets’ third straight postseason appearance. He’d be the first coach at Coalmont to pull off that feat since Ken Colquette managed four straight (2001-2004).
What to watch: The Irish love the throw the football to Matt Reilly and they’re coming off their best defensive showing, a shutout of Whitwell. However, Grundy County can throw but loves to pound and punish with a bludgeoning style attack featuring Johnny Cook.
Red Bank (7-2, 5-1) at Tyner (4-5, 4-2)
Coaches: Red Bank’s Tim Daniels, Tyner’s Wayne Turner
Interesting stats/facts: Teams have split the two meetings they’ve had since districts were realigned. Red Bank won 24-10 in 2009 and Tyner won 28-7 last year. ... Lions haven’t missed the playoffs since 2003, coach Tim Daniels’ second year as the replacement for Tom Weathers. Tyner last failed to get in the playoffs in 2003 (when the Rams finished 5-5).
What to watch: Red Bank quarterback Niquia McDuffie is the catalyst and has been the Lions’ leading rusher. He has big-play capability whether it’s rushing or throwing to Deres Benn. Red Bank needs to get more from Demetrius Williams, who stepped in when Randall Lee suffered a broken ankle, and the offensive line. It isn’t easy to run on the Rams as Howard learned last week when it wound up with negative yardage. The Rams love to run but they got off to a good start last week when Willie Stewart first returned a kickoff and then an interception for scores.
Signal Mountain (1-2, 1-0) at Sequatchie County (7-2, 3-1), 8
Coaches: Signal’s Bill Price, Sequatchie’s Chad Barger
Interesting stats/facts: Both coaches envisioned this as being for the district 7-AA championship and it would have been if not for the TSSAA ruling that caused the Eagles to vacate six wins including a victory over current 7-AA leader Bledsoe County. Signal beat the Indians 42-7 last year but won by a slimmer margin (29-26) two years ago. Sequatchie coach Chad Barger has put together a string of postseason showings since he arrived in time for the 2008 season. He has given the Indians three straight winning seasons, something they hadn’t done since 1995-1997 under coaches Jay Davis and Mike Zeller.
What to watch: All eyes may be on Tim McClendon, the suspended player who should have his eligibility restored in time to play in this game. McClendon, if allowed to suit up, will play at fullback and linebacker and could see some time as a receiver. He also is a candidate for kickoff duties. ... The Eagles don’t roll solely, though, on McClendon’s abilities. They have capable backs in Andrew Price, Zack Bowman and Mitchell Hall and Reese Phillips has led the area quarterback ratings most of the season thanks in part to receivers Will Queen and Jon Patton. Sequatchie has been more willing to throw the ball with Eli Stout but their recipe for success has been to run with Jerry Fain, Shane Yother and Hunter Hudson. When they throw, it has been primarily to Logan Summers and Hudson.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
The rest of the schedule:
Battle Ground Academy (7-2, 4-2) at Baylor (8-1, 4-1)
Bledsoe County (8-1, 3-1) at Chattanooga Christian (3-6, 1-3)
Boyd-Buchanan (8-1, 2-0) at Copper Basin (3-6, 1-1)
Cleveland (3-6, 2-3) at Rhea County (1-8, 1-4)
East Ridge (5-4, 4-2) at Brainerd (4-5, 3-3)
Grace Academy (5-4, 1-1) at Silverdale Baptist (4-5, 1-1)
Hixson (3-6, 1-5) at Central (3-6, 2-4)
Howard (0-8, 0-6) at East Hamilton (5-4, 5-1)
McCallie (4-4, 2-3) at Brentwood Academy (7-2, 5-1), 8
Meigs County (5-4, 1-2) at Polk County (6-3, 3-0)
South Pittsburg (8-1, 3-0) at Knoxville Grace Academy (9-0, 4-0)
Walker Valley (0-9, 0-5) at Ooltewah (6-3, 3-2)
Warren County (0-9) at Soddy-Daisy (3-6, 2-4)
North Jackson (9-0, 7-0) at Scottsboro (2-7, 1-6), 8
Sylvania (7-2, 5-2) at Ider (7-2, 6-2), 8
Elkmont (6-3, 4-3) at Fort Payne (8-1, 6-1), 8
Pisgah (3-6, 2-5) at North Sand Mountain (8-1, 7-1), 8
Northwest Whitfield (5-3, 5-3) at Johns Creek (7-1, 7-1)
Cedartown (6-2, 3-1) at Murray County (0-8, 0-4)
Dalton (6-2, 4-0) at Southeast Whitfield (2-6, 0-4)
LaFayette (5-3, 2-3) vs. Ringgold (5-3, 2-2) at Finley Stadium
Heritage (5-3, 1-3) at Ridgeland (4-4, 3-1)
Calhoun (8-0, 5-0) at Lakeview-F.O. (4-4, 4-1)
Dade County (4-4, 2-3) at Chattooga (3-5, 2-3)
Gordon Central (5-3, 3-2) at North Murray (0-8, 0-5)
Gordon Lee (3-5, 1-4) at Trion (2-6, 2-3)
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...