published Monday, October 29th, 2012

Notes on the TSSAA football playoffs

TSSAA logo
TSSAA logo

Class 1A

At 7-3, Cloudland is a No. 3 seed as opposed to Copper Basin, also 7-3 but a No. 4 seed. At least Copper Basin's Cougars are playing a first-round home game, but they are playing lookout Valley, whom they have already played and beaten (42-27 in Week 9).

South Pittsburg (7-3) gets a No. 3 seed and a host game against 5-5 Columbia Academy but then would catch 9-1 Gordonsville in the quarterfinals rather than the semis. It's a game knowledgeable fans from the midstate area think could have been for a state championship game.

At least District 6-A members Lookout Valley and South Pittsburg are in separate quadrants.

Class 2A

There are eight 9-1 teams in the 24-team bracket, and three did not receive first-round byes. Instead, byes went to Westwood (8-2) and Loretto (7-3). There's a 3-7 team (Booker T. Washington) with a No. 5 seed, the same seed accorded to 9-1 Silverdale Baptist.

Boyd-Buchanan is one of the 9-1 teams that was excluded from a bye -- supposedly on a ninth or 10th criteria, but at least the Buccaneers are home for their first game.

Two of those 9-1 teams -- Silverdale and Hampton -- are meeting in the first round at Hampton And, six of the best-record teams are in the eastern Tennessee half of the bracket.

Class 3A

Question: How does 7-3 Polk County get a No. 2 seed over a 9-1 Christian Academy of Knoxville? There were thoughts, too, that the TSSAA would send Alcoa or CAK into the first quadrant, where the only 4-6 team in the upper half of the bracket resides.

It's the same question 8-2 Tyner is asking about going on the road to play 7-3 Sweetwater, and guess who the winner of that game is scheduled to play? Alcoa. Tyner played Alcoa in the first round in 2009, was in the same quadrant with Alcoa in 2010 and played Alcoa in the first round last year.

When Tyner takes the field Friday, it will be the Rams' 20th consecutive playoff season. Polk County is making its 12th in a row.

McMinn Central is in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, coach Josh Goodin's first season.

Grundy County has made the playoffs four years in a row, all under Nick Bryant, who took over the program in 2009.

Class 4A

The last set of possible pairings before the brackets were released had Hixson facing East Hamilton and Signal Mountain playing Notre Dame in District 6-AA and 7-AA rematches. At least that was avoided. Notre Dame is instead hosting Hixson while Signal hosts Page and East Hamilton has Marshall County at home. However, if Signal and East Hamilton win, they'll play at East Hamilton a week from Friday in a rematch of the teams' season opener that East Hamilton won 55-14.

East Hamilton is beginning the playoffs at home for the second year in a row. The Hurricanes lost in Round 1 last year to Brainerd.

In case it's been forgotten, Signal was rolling along and ready to make a run at the state title when the Eagles had six wins vacated and lost an appeal regarding an ineligible player. Signal has a short playoff history but has never lost a home playoff game.

Hixson is in the playoffs for the first time since 2005. It hasn't been quite that long since the Wildcats and Irish played. Hixson won 15-10 in their last meeting (2008). The teams are 2-2 in their most recent four-game series starting in 2005.

Signal, East Hamilton, Hixson and Notre Dame are in the second quadrant, which also had 9-1 DeKalb County. However, DeKalb wound up in the first quadrant as a No. 4 seed. Quadrant 1's top seed is Livingston Academy, which is closer to Nashville than Knoxville.

Class 5A

While Cleveland was in and then out of the playoffs, leaving Blue Raiders fans wondering why they were being left out instead of Walker Valley, Walker Valley last made the playoffs in 2008. Before that, the Mustangs hadn't made it since 2004. They're 0-5 in playoff games.

It's been just a year since Ooltewah missed the playoffs -- Shannon Williams' first season as Benny Monroe's coaching successor. The tradition is there, though. The Owls have been there in nine of the last 10 years, including a 13-1 season in 2006 when they came up a game short of the state final.

Class 6A

Can't figure this one but Cookeville (5-5) is a No. 4 seed and Bradley Central (6-4) is a No. 7 seed.

Not only have Bradley Central and McMinn County played earlier this year, it was just last week and McMinn came from behind to win the game and District 5-AAA.

Division II-AA

Baylor came up a win shy of getting a first-round bye, but the problem for the Red Raiders is that they host Battle Ground Academy this week after playing BGA just last week in the regular-season finale. The BGA-Baylor winner will have to visit Memphis University School.

McCallie at least got a game against somebody it hasn't played this year. The Blue Tornado will host St. Benedict on Friday. The winner of that one gets to go to Nashville to play unbeaten Ensworth.

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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