published Monday, September 12th, 2011

The year’s best football performances

FOOTBALL SCHEDULE


(all kickoffs at 7:30 EDT unless noted)

Brainerd (2-1, 1-0) at East Hamilton (1-3, 1-0)

Central (1-2, 0-1) at Howard(0-3, 0-1)

Cleveland (1-3, 0-1) at Walker Valley (0-3, 0-0)

Father Ryan (3-1, 0-1) at McCallie (2-1, 0-1)

Lookout Valley (2-2, 0-1) at Whitwell (1-3, 0-1), 8

McMinn Central (0-4, 0-1) at Meigs County (3-1, 1-0)

Notre Dame (3-1, 0-1) at Bledsoe County (2-1, 0-1), 8

Polk County (2-2, 1-0) at Sweetwater (3-1, 0-0)

Rhea County (0-4, 0-1) at Soddy-Daisy (0-3, 0-1)

Sequatchie County (3-1, 1-0) at Chattanooga Christian (1-3, 1-0)

Silverdale Baptist (1-3, 0-1) at Copper Basin (2-2, 0-0)

Tyner (0-3, 0-1) at East Ridge (1-2, 0-1)

ALABAMA

Guntersville (3-0) at North Jackson (3-0), 8

Fort Payne (2-1) at Gadsden Southside (1-2), 8

Ider (3-0) at North Sand Mountain (2-1), 8

GEORGIA

Murray County (0-3) at LaFayette (2-1)

Dalton (2-1) at Allatoona (3-0)

Ridgeland (1-2) at Gilmer County (2-1)

Cartersville (1-2) vs. Ringgold (3-0) at Finley Stadium

Southeast Whitfield (1-1) at Cedartown (2-1)

Pickens County (1-2) at Heritage (3-0)

Chattooga (1-2) at Calhoun (3-0)

Dade County (1-1) at Armuchee (2-1)

Lakeview-F.O. (0-3) at Gordon Central (2-1)

North Murray (0-3) at Sonoraville (1-2)

Walker (1-2) at Gordon Lee (1-1)

Mt. Paran (2-1) at Trion (0-3)

Red Bank (3-0, 1-0) at Hixson (3-0, 1-0)

Coaches: Red Bank’s Tim Daniels, Hixson’s Houston White

Interesting stats/facts: Hixson QB Justin Mathieson is coming off a phenomenal performance where he had a hand in six TDs — three rushing, two passing and another on a kickoff return. He also kicked three extra points and recorded 10 tackles. Red Bank QB Niquia McDuffie is coming off a 437-yard total offense performance. . . . Wildcats runner Clarencio Holmes has three 100-yard games already. . . . Hixson hasn’t been undefeated this deep into the season since 1998 when Dan Duff directed the Wildcats to a 9-3 campaign. . . . Red Bank has won six in a row over the Wildcats with Hixson’s last win coming in 2004 (10-7).

What to watch: Hixson might have an edge up front on both sides but Red Bank probably has an advantage on the outside and on deep threats. The Wildcats will have a legitimate chance if they can keep McDuffie corralled and deny receivers Deres Benn and Kameno Watson the big plays.

Ooltewah (3-1, 1-0) at McMinn County (2-2, 1-0)

Coaches: Ooltewah’s Shannon Williams, McMinn County’s Bo Cagle

Interesting stats/facts: Ooltewah has won four of the last five and seven of the last 10, last losing to the Cherokees in 2009 (20-17), an upset that cost them the region championship and left them with a second-place finish behind McMinn. . . . McMinn’s 2-8 record a year ago was the school’s first losing season in four years with Cagles as head coach.

What to watch: Owls QB Bradley Stephens has had a pair of 300-yard passing games to date but the one last week was wasted as Ooltewah saw its unbeaten streak ended at Seigel. . . . McMinn is coming off a 24-14 loss to Farragut but has sown it can move via run or pass.

Boyd-Buchanan (4-0, 1-0) at Grace Academy (2-2, 0-0)

Coaches: Boyd-Buchanan’s Grant Reynolds, Grace’s Bob Ateca

Interesting stats/facts: The Buccaneers have been breathe-easy one week and sigh of relief the next, beating CCS by 20, East Ridge by 1, Silverdale by 35 and Howard by 8. . . . The win over Silverdale was a District 5-A win. . . . Grace scored 48 in its season opener and lost to Notre Dame. The Golden Eagles have scored 154 points thus far and their lowest output was 26 in a 34-26 loss to Sweetwater.

What to watch: How much better has Boyd-Buchanan’s offensive line gotten? The Buccaneers would prefer a get-ahead-early and go to a time-consuming ball control offense because Grace has quick-strike abilities behind RBs Will Slack and Aaron Tisdale, QB Josh Smith and WR Corey Nelson. Smith must be mindful of Boyd’s experienced secondary.

Ensworth (4-0, 1-0) at Baylor (4-0, 2-0)

Coaches: Ensworth’s Ricky Bowers, Baylor’s Phil Massey

Interesting stats/facts: This will be Ensworth’s second trip in as many years to Baylor. . . . Ensworth handed the Red Raiders their first and second losses of the year last season, the first coming during the regular season and the second in the state championship game. . . . The Tigers are coming off a three-week home stretch in which they posted a pair of shutouts sandwiched around a 28-10 win over McCallie. . . . Ensworth’s win streak is now at 13.

Ensworth 50, Raleigh Egypt 0: Corn Elder caught three touchdown passes and ran for two more to lead Ensworth (4-0).

What to watch: Ensworth RB Corn Elder can beat teams so many ways. Last week he caught three TD passes and ran for two more scores as the Tigers blistered Raleigh Egypt 50-0. . . . Baylor had a tough time last week against MBA but secured its second district victory. The Red Raiders have shown a willingness and the ability to take what defenses offer whether it’s run or pass for QB Matthew Oellerich.

Grundy County (2-2, 0-1) at Signal Mountain (3-1, 1-0)

Coaches: Grundy’s Nick Bryant, Signal’s Bill Price

Interesting stats/facts: This is first meeting between the two. Grundy is coming off a win over Whitwell while Signal got embarrassed at Blackman. While its win streak was snapped at 17 in the lopsided loss to Blackman, Signal still has a home win streak that stands at 15.

What to watch: Grundy makes no bones about it. The Yellowjackets intend to hammer with RB Johnny Cook. . . . Signal has had to throw more than Price would like because the running game hasn’t been in sync nearly as much as the connection between QB Reese Phillips and WRs Will Queen and Jon Patton. Most teams have been crowding the box, refusing to let Signal take over the line of scrimmage and rip off 6-, 7- and 8-yard gainers. If Grundy is able to nullify the Eagles’ defensive quickness, the Yellowjackets might make a game of it.

South Pittsburg (3-0, 1-0) at Marion County (1-3, 1-0), 8

Coaches: South Pitt’s Vic Grider, Marion’s Troy Boeck.

Interesting stats/facts: South Pitt ended Sequatchie County’s unbeaten string last week while Marion was getting pounded by unbeaten Hixson. . . . The Pirates have won five in a row with Marion’s last win coming in 2005 by a 13-12 score. They won 64-0 last year and it was the first of three straight shutouts for the Pirates defense.

What to watch: While Jajuan Lankford has been the Pirates’ primary offensive threat, Demetric Johnson last week turned in a 209-yard rushing outing. Marion runs an option offense so this game could be quick. Neither the Pirates nor the Warriors are likely to throw all that much.

about Ward Gossett...

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 ...

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