published Monday, September 19th, 2011

This week’s high school football matchups

PREP SCHEDULE


(all kickoffs at 7:30 EDT unless noted)

Boyd-Buchanan (5-0) at Donelson Christian (4-1), 8

Bradley Central (3-1) at Blackman (4-1), 8

Brainerd (2-2) at Austin-East (2-3)

Chattanooga Christian (1-4, 1-1) at Grundy County (0-2, 2-3), 8

DeKalb County (4-1) at Hixson (3-1), 8

Eagleville (5-0) at Copper Basin (2-3), 8

Knox Christian (4-1) at Grace Academy (2-3)

Lookout Valley (3-2) at Notre Dame (3-2)

McMinn Central (1-4) at Bledsoe County (3-1)

Meigs County (3-2) at Tellico Plains (0-4)

Ooltewah (3-2) at East Ridge (1-3)

Sequatchie County (4-1) at Marion County (1-4), 8

Silverdale Baptist (2-3) at Whitwell (1-4), 8

Soddy-Daisy (1-3) at Central (2-2)

Tyner (1-3) at Tullahoma (3-2), 8

Whitwell (1-4) at Silverdale Baptist (2-3)

ALABAMA

North Jackson (4-0) at R.A. Hubbard (3-1), 8

Victory Christian (0-4, 0-4) at Ider (3-1, 2-1), 8

Fort Payne (3-1) at Cullman (4-0), 8

North Sand Mountain (4-1, 3-1) at Sand Rock (2-2, 2-1), 8

GEORGIA

Northwest Whitfield (2-1, 2-1) at Chattahoochee (2-1, 2-1)

Lithia Springs (0-3) at Southeast Whitfield (1-2)

Sonoraville (2-2, 1-0) at Chattooga (1-3, 0-1)

Gordon Central (3-1, 1-0) at Dade County (2-1, 0-0)

North Murray (0-4, 0-1)) at Lakeview-F.O. (0-4, 0-1)

Gordon Lee (1-2, 0-1) at Bremen (1-3, 0-1)

Trion (0-4, 0-1)) at Mt. Zion, Carroll (0-4, 0-2)

McCallie (3-1, 1-1) at Baylor (5-0, 3-0)

Coaches: McCallie’s Bubba Simmons, Baylor’s Phil Massey.

Interesting stats/facts: Baylor QB Matthew Oellerich got his first varsity start as a freshman against McCallie. The Blue Tornado won that game 24-3. ... McCallie improved its record at the expense of Father Ryan, rushing 59 times for 398 yards with diminutive Daniel McClure throwing out workhorse numbers (37 carries/241 yards). ... Baylor running back Houston Clement began his career at McCallie. ... Baylor has a two-game win streak.

What to watch: Oellerich has been a difference-maker for the Red Raiders after many thought they might struggle upon the graduation of Jacob Huesman. ... With the help of a hefty and healthy offensive line, Oellerich destroyed previously unbeaten and top-ranked Ensworth 42-14. He ran for four TDs and passed for another. The keys to this one could be in the respective defensive front sevens and which refuses to knuckle under in the face of overwhelming offensive pressure.

South Pittsburg (4-0) at Signal Mountain (4-1)

Coaches: South Pittsburg’s Vic Grider, Signal Mountain’s Bill Price.

Interesting stats/facts: While this is the third meeting between the two, this is the first time that one of the two won’t enter the game undefeated. Signal lost to Class 6A power Blackman by a lopsided margin on Sept. 9. South Pittsburg hasn’t yet been challenged and is coming off a 46-0 pasting of rival Marion County. South Pittsburg won the first game 48-20 at Signal and Signal won last year at South Pittsburg 40-36.

What to watch: South Pittsburg QB Jake Stone and how much he passes, or has to pass, against the Eagles, whose pass defense is still a little soft. Of course after seeing Blackman run through the Eagles for 420 yards, Pirates RB Jajuan Lankford has to be licking his chops. The Pirates’ offensive line is actually as big if not bigger than that of Blackman and Signal defenders might actually have to try and outquick the Pirates.

Cleveland (2-3) at Red Bank (4-0)

Coaches: Cleveland’s E.K. Slaughter, Red Bank’s Tim Daniels.

Interesting stats/facts: Slaughter was offensive coordinator for several years for Daniels and coached Lions quarterback coach Jake Ledbetter. Of course, Ledbetter was a volunteer on Slaughter’s staff last year. Also, Cleveland defensive coordinator Brad Benefield was a defensive assistant at Red Bank. ... Red Bank is riding a seven-game win streak. Cleveland’s last victory was 13-0 in 2003 (Daniels’ second season at Red Bank).

What to watch: How Cleveland’s defense shadows Lions QB Niquia McDuffie, whose boom or bust approach has occasionally frustrated his coaches. Red Bank RB/LB Randall Lee has been coming of age and showed both promise and maturity in the Lions’ rally past Hixson. He scored the game-winner with just 14 seconds left. Hixson, though, ran over and through the Lions, racking up better than 350 rushing yards. While the Blue Raiders’ offense might not be as impressive as Hixson’s the Blue Raiders’ defense might be better. Red Bank’s defense has had its moments but it has been more big plays than consistent play.

Walker Valley (0-4) at Polk County (3-2)

Coaches: Walker Valley’s Ted Lockerby, Polk County’s Derrick Davis.

Interesting stats/facts: Polk County is above .500 for the first time this year after starting the season 2-0. As they take a break from District 5-AA play, though, they do so as the current leader (2-0). ... Walker Valley is coming off a 31-24 loss to rival Cleveland.

What to watch: For Polk the key has been running back Derrick Saxe, who had 185 yards in a win over Sweetwater last week, but quarterback Alex Akins stepped up with a rushing TD and a pair of touchdown passes. ... Walker Valley’s lead Mustang is running back Kelvin Wells.

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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