(all kickoffs at 7:30 EDT unless noted)
• Thursday, Sept. 8
Taft Youth Center at Notre Dame (2-1), 7
• Friday, Sept. 9
Baylor (3-0, 1-0) at Montgomery Bell Academy (2-1, 0-1), 8:30
Boyd-Buchanan (3-0) at Howard (0-3)
Bradley Central (2-1) at East Hamilton (1-2)
Central (1-1) at Cleveland (0-3)
Chattanooga Christian (1-2) at Polk County (1-2)
Copper Basin (1-2) at Towns County, Ga.
Farragut (2-1) at McMinn County (2-1)
Hixson (2-0) at Marion County (1-2), 8
Loudon (1-1) at McMinn Central (0-3)
Meigs County (2-1) at Silverdale Baptist (1-2)
Ooltewah (3-0) at Siegel (3-0), 8
Walker Valley (0-2) at Red Bank (2-0)
Whitwell (1-2) at Grundy County (1-2), 8
North Jackson (2-0) at DAR (1-1), 8
Arab (1-1) at Fort Payne (1-1), 8
Westbrook Christian (1-1) at Ider (2-0), 8
North Sand Mountain (1-1) at Pleasant Valley (0-2), 8
Northwest Whitfield (1-1) at Sequoyah (0-2)
Gilmer County (2-0) at Dalton (1-1)
Cartersville (1-1) at LaFayette (1-1)
Cedartown (2-0) at Ridgeland (0-2)
Pickens County (0-2) vs. Ringgold (2-0) at Finley Stadium
Allatoona (2-0) at Southeast Whitfield (1-0)
Murray County (0-2) at Heritage (2-0)
Calhoun (2-0) at Pepperell (2-0)
Chattooga (1-1) at Armuchee (1-1)
Gordon Central (2-0) at Rockmart (1-1)
Lakeview-F.O. (0-2) at Model (0-2)
Sonoraville (1-1) at Adairsville (2-0)
North Murray (0-2) at Coosa (0-2)
Trion (0-2) at Pinecrest Academy (1-1)
McCallie (1-1) at Tyner (0-2)
Coaches: McCallie’s Bubba Simmons, Tyner’s Wayne Turner.
Interesting stats/facts: McCallie is a triple-option team with a fairly strong passing game. Tyner proved it could stuff the run against Signal Mountain but the Eagles made them pay with a fairly strong passing game. . . . Tyner lost 33-8 last week to Brainerd and is 0-2 for the third straight season. After opening losses to Ooltewah and Baylor a year ago, the Rams rebounded to win the District 6-AA championship. . . . It might have gone unnoticed considering McCallie lost to Ensworth 28-10 but the Blue Tornado held the defending Division II-AA state champions scoreless in the first half. . . . McCallie last started a season 1-1 in 2008 and went on to a 6-4 finish in Rick Whitt’s second season. The Blue Tornado began the 1020 season 2-0 but finished 4-7.
What to watch: Tyner is still looking for a consistent quarterback, a lead running back and some consistency in the offensive line. The Rams, despite giving up 60-plus points combined in their first two games, can play some defense behind linebacker Chandler Patrick. McCallie QB Trent Lusk threw for just 113 yards last week but then the Blue Tornado has been relying heavily on the offensive line and the running of Doug McClure, who turned in a 152-yard showing against Ensworth.
Signal Mountain (3-0) at Blackman (2-1), 8
Coaches: Signal’s Bill Price, Blackman’s Philip Shadowens
Interesting stats/facts: Signal’s win streak stands now at 17 games following last year’s unbeaten run to the Class 2A state title. . . . Junior QB Reese Phillips had his finest day as an Eagle Friday, throwing for 318 yards in the club’s 48-13 win at Bledsoe County. . . .Blackman was upset Friday, falling to Siegel despite a 215-yard rushing effort from I’Tavis Mathers, one of the state’s top prospects.
What to watch: Signal’s passing game has been clicking with Phillips throwing for more than 500 yards the past two weeks and splitting completions primarily between receivers Jon Patton and Will Queen. Patton had a 200-yard night against Bledsoe while Queen had 105. However, teams have been crowding the line of scrimmage and have tried to slow a talented trio that consists of Andrew Price, Zach Bowman and Tim McClendon. McClendon, like Bowman a two-way starter, ripped off a run of 60-plus yards and would have gone another 20 to a TD if he hadn’t stumbled. He is the biggest of the backs at 6-2, 230. Price is the quickest and Bowman, a 200-pounder, is tough to bring down once he clears the line of scrimmage.
Sequatchie County (3-0) at South Pittsburg (2-0), 8
Coaches: Sequatchie’s Chad Barger, South Pittsburg’s Vic Grider.
Interesting stats/facts: The Pirates have started a year 2-0 for the seventh consecutive season. In the six previous years, five campaigns of 10 or more wins, two state finals trips and a state championship. . . .Sequatchie last week became the first team to start a year 2-0 since 2005 and the Indians haven’t enjoyed a 3-0 start since 1996 when they went 10-3 under first-year coach Mike Zeller.
What to watch: Who has to pass first. Both clubs prefer to run but both are also showing signs of capable passing games, Sequatchie with Eli Stout and South Pittsburg with Jake Stone. Sequatchie has a fair-sized line but will likely be outweighed by an average of 40 pounds.
Grace Academy (1-2) at Lookout Valley (2-1)
Coaches: Grace’s Bob Ateca, Lookout Valley’s Tony Webb
Interesting stats/facts: Grace is 1-2 and has yet to show much defense. The team set a number of offensive records in its opener but lost to Notre Dame 61-48. Lookout Valley was showing promise but the Yellow Jackets got embarrassed last week at South Pittsburg, 52-7. The Jackets already have equaled their 2009 win total. Grace, which beat Lookout Valley 48-21 a year ago, is looking for its first winning season since 2008 when the Golden Eagles went 7-4 and made their third straight playoff trip.
What to watch: Grace must cut down on its turnovers. The Golden Eagles endured two fumbles lost and two interceptions in a 34-26 loss at Sweetwater. Lookout Valley, which beat Midway and Chattanooga Christian to open the year, depends heavily on Jamal Jones and Vern Scribner. Grace leaders have been Josh Smith, Jake Hill, Corey Nelson and Will Slack.
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 ...