published Friday, August 24th, 2012

Hargis prep picks: Baylor to nip Bears

Assistant Sports editor Stephen Hargis breaks down this week's entire area schedule of games.

Bradley Central at Baylor: Both teams had running backs with breakout games in last week's season openers, as Baylor's George Porter ran for 194 yards and four touchdowns and Bradley's Logan Fetzner collected 235 yards and two TDs. Tonight the quarterbacks on both sides will need to step up since both defenses will key to stop the run. Expect Baylor's linemen to be the difference in a close win.

Brainerd at Rhea County: Rhea's Golden Eagles will continue to show steady improvement with a big road win.

Cannon County at Grace Academy: This is the Golden Eagles' chance to get well after last week's disappointing loss. Cannon County was winless last season.

Central at Polk County: Perhaps more than any other game on the area schedule, this one could go either way. Central has too much speed for an inexperienced group of Wildcats.

Chattanooga Christian at Lookout Valley: This could be one of the better matchups in the area tonight. Lookout Valley's secondary will be tested by a pass-happy Chargers offense, but the Yellow Jackets have too much breakaway speed to be stopped, especially with the return of senior quarterback Vann Scribner.

Unionville Community at Silverdale Baptist: The host Seahawks will keep things simple and grind out their second win in as many weeks.

East Ridge at Boyd-Buchanan: While the visiting Pioneers have enough athletes to scare the Buccaneers, Boyd-Buchanan has too much experience and talent and should pull away late in its home opener.

Knoxville Catholic at Cleveland: By the end of the night the Blue Raiders will be tired of playing teams from the 865 area code. Cleveland follows last week's loss to Maryville with a second loss of the season.

Marion County at Bledsoe County, 8 EDT: Marion will need more balance on offense to knock off Bledsoe in the battle of Warriors. Blake Zeman is a bull of a runner, but expect Bledsoe to stack the box to stop the run and force Marion to throw the ball. Bledsoe scores late to win.

McCallie at McMinn County: It won't be flashy, but expect a fundamentally sound visiting Blue Tornado team to give Ralph Potter a hard-fought win in his return as coach of his alma mater.

McMinn Central at Notre Dame: The host Fighting Irish's big-play potential on special teams could be the difference.

Midway at Whitwell, 8 EDT: This was Whitwell's lone win last year. The Tigers are improved from last season and should notch their first win against the Green Wave once again.

Ooltewah at East Hamilton: This game is budding into one of the city's top rivalries, and both teams were impressive in season-opening wins last week. The difference will be East Hamilton's size and experience advantage in the trenches.

Signal Mountain at Tyner: In what may be the hardest-hitting game in the area, the visiting Eagles begin to erase the memory of last week's stinging loss with a win over a stubborn group of Rams.

Sequatchie County at Meigs County: Both teams came into the season inexperienced and are licking their wounds after lopsided season-opening losses. Look for the Indians to score late to take a close road win.

Soddy-Daisy at Red Bank: The host Lions have been under the radar for much of the preseason but have looked like one of the area's most dangerous teams in scrimmages. Tonight they give new coach E.K. Slaughter a big win against his former team.

South Pittsburg at Grundy County, 8 EDT: After blowing a 13-point halftime lead last week in a loss at Marion, Grundy's Yellow Jackets have no time to wallow as the Pirates bring several players with breakaway speed to the mountain. South Pittsburg will debut its return to the wing-T in a big way.

Walker Valley at Hixson: Jason Fitzgerald makes his debut as Wildcats coach with just enough big plays on offense to claim the home win.

Dalton at Ringgold: Dalton begins the season with a chip on its shoulder from last year and puts a damper on the Tigers' night. Ringgold unveils its new facilities but won't celebrate with a win.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...

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