All kickoffs at 7:30 EDT unless noted
EAST HAMILTON HURRICANES (4-0, 1-0) at OOLTEWAH OWLS (3-1, 1-0)
Storyline: The Battle of White Oak Mountain III features two of the Chattanooga area’s most balanced and potent offensive attacks. The Owls average 44.5 points per game; the ‘Canes average 36.3. Huge crowds have shown up for the first two meetings, both Ooltewah victories. Adding to the spirit, for the first time the teams are in the same district (5-AAA). “It’s going to be what high school football should be about every Friday night,” said East Hamilton coach Ted Gatewood, a former Ooltewah coach.
BOWLING GREEN (Ky.) PURPLES (3-0) at McCALLIE BLUE TORNADO (3-1)
Storyline: The Blue Tornado will have their hands full with Kentucky’s top-ranked team. Riding a 33-game win streak, the Purples are led by seniors including QB Devin Hayes (40-60-0, 10 TDs, 690 yards), RB Blue Tisdale (45-275, 5 TDs), WR Nacarius Fant (18-399, 6 TDs) and LB Lincoln Quick (26 tackles). McCallie counters with QB JaVaughn Craig, who also has yet to throw an interception and leads the Tornado is rushing, and RBs Andrew Busby, Alex Trotter and Paul Silverblatt.
WALKER VALLEY MUSTANGS (3-1, 0-1) at BRADLEY CENTRAL BEARS (2-1, 0-0)
Storyline: The Bears try to improve their series record to 8-0. They’re no stranger to close contests this season, with their three games being decided by a total of seven points. The Mustangs will look to play mistake-free and get off to a good start tonight and not find themselves behind, as they’ve had to rally in each of their three victories thus far.
SODDY-DAISY TROJANS (2-1, 0-1) at CLEVELAND BLUE RAIDERS (3-1, 1-0)
Storyline: After a week off to recover from their first loss of the season, the Trojans have a chance to regroup and take another huge step forward. Facing one of the area’s top passing attacks, Soddy-Daisy needs its secondary to defend in space if this is to be a four-quarter battle. But the Blue Raiders may take control early.
MARION COUNTY WARRIORS (3-1, 1-0) at LOOKOUT VALLEY YELLOW JACKETS (0-3, 0-0)
Storyline: The Yellow Jackets have been reeling from injuries to start the season, dressing just 19 players for last week’s game. However, some of the bumps and bruises are starting to heal, allowing the return of players such as QB Evan Walker, who had been out with cracked ribs. Meanwhile, Marion is looking to rid itself of the bad taste left over from last week’s loss to Central, when the Purple Pounders rallied late.
WHITWELL TIGERS (1-3, 0-1) at SOUTH PITTSBURG PIRATES (3-1, 1-0), 8
Storyline: There may be a combined five pass attempts between these two ground-oriented offenses. The Tigers rely on Clay and Dusty McHone to carry much of the offensive load, while their defense will be thoroughly tested by a Pirates offense that appears to be finding its groove, led by RBs Jajuan Lankford and Corbin Fitzgerald and FB Kahlil Mitchell.
McMINN CENTRAL CHARGERS (1-3, 0-1) at POLK COUNTY WILDCATS (2-1, 0-0)
Storyline: Wildcats coach Derrick Davis was irate after last week. His team didn’t maintain his or Polk’s tradition of crisp blocking and solid tackling. Central has struggled, most recently getting shut out (42-0). The Chargers will continue to pin their hopes on Denzell Boyd, who ran for more than 1,300 yards last year.
EAST RIDGE PIONEERS (2-2, 1-0) at BRAINERD PANTHERS (0-4, 0-1)
Storyline: The Pioneers have a modest two-game win streak. Brainerd has revamped offensive and defensive schemes, leaving the I-formation for the spread and changing from an eight-man defensive front to more of a 4-3 look with the third linebacker serving as a rover. Senior Sam Caffey is the QB on offense and that roving LB. The Pioneers will have every player they started the season with back for the first time since the opener against Walker Valley. The Panthers may unveil new uniforms.
GRUNDY COUNTY YELLOW JACKETS (1-3, 0-1) at SIGNAL MOUNTAIN EAGLES (3-1, 1-0), 7
Storyline: Grundy players, fans and coaches have had an interesting week, one that resulted in coach Nick Bryant being suspended from all football activities for a week. He will not be on sideline tonight. In his stead will be assistant Jason Evans, who has head coaching experience elsewhere. Signal is coming off a second straight shutout win and a third game in which reserves have been able to get playing time. The Eagles are ranked fifth in the latest Class 4A state poll.
HIXSON WILDCATS (2-2, 1-0) at HOWARD HUSTLIN’ TIGERS (1-2, 0-0)
Storyline: The Wildcats played poorly and lost in Week 1 and played very well last week and lost to Bradley Central. “We played well last week, just not so smart at times,” coach Jason Fitzgerald said. Howard, meanwhile, got its first win by handling still-winless Loudon. The Tigers have a handful of outstanding, take-it-to-the-house athletes including two-way standout Cudjoe Young, who just returned to the team.
KNOXVILLE CATHOLIC FIGHTING IRISH (3-0) at TYNER RAMS (0-3)
Storyline: Tyner is playing several players both ways and has struggled in the fourth quarters of back-to-back games, while Catholic runs a fast-tempo offense and is coming off an open date. Top Irish players have been QB Zac Jancek (41-66-2, 540 yards, 5 TDs), RB Logan Lacey (29-149), WR Jordan Anderson (11-140) and defensive leaders Will Martinez, Dominic Souder and David Hamilton. Catholic is ranked fourth in the Class 4A poll.
POPE JOHN PAUL II KNIGHTS (2-2, 0-2) at BAYLOR RED RAIDERS (3-1, 0-1)
Storyline: The third-ranked Red Raiders are seeking their first league win after losing two weeks ago at second-ranked MBA. PJP has won two straight after opening the season with back-to-back lopsided region losses to McCallie and Ensworth. The Raiders must shut down QB Jacob Polman, RBs Quer’Darius Hunter and Gunnar Scholato and WRs Jocquise Upton and Josh Hayes.
SEQUATCHIE COUNTY INDIANS (2-1, 1-0) at CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN CHARGERS (2-1, 0-1)
Storyline: The Indians will be as healthy as they’ve been since preseason with all but one of their OL starters back in the lineup. The Chargers, coming off an open date, have used a two-QB system (Jared Miller, Zach Mercer), but their top threat is RB D.J. Toney. Veer-committed Sequatchie has been carried by Dylan Harvey, Keith Billingsley and Hayden Hicks.
NOTRE DAME IRISH (3-1, 1-0) at BLEDSOE COUNTY WARRIORS (1-3, 0-1), 8
Storyline: The good news for the Irish is that they now have two QBs with injured original starter Alex Darras (knee) rejoining Clay Heltzel. Bledsoe has been hampered by depth issues in the lines but had a 98-yard scoring drive early last week in its loss to York Institute.
CUMBERLAND COUNTY JETS (0-3, 0-1) at RHEA COUNTY GOLDEN EAGLES (2-1, 1-0)
Storyline: The Golden Eagles look to get back on the right track after being shut out over the final 34 minutes in a 24-17 loss to Walker Valley last week. Their opponent tonight has lost 20 straight games, dating back to the 2011 season, so Rhea will be looking to re-establish its rushing attack, led by Dimitrius Patterson, Jacob York and Jobe Berry.
McMINN COUNTY CHEROKEES (1-3) at OAK RIDGE WILDCATS (2-1)
Storyline: There might not be a program in the state with a tougher five-game slate to start the season than the Cherokees, whose three losses were to teams ranked in the top five of their respective classifications — McCallie, Cleveland and Alcoa. There was marked improvement last week, but Oak Ridge presents another challenge with some big-play ability.
ROCKWOOD TIGERS (3-1, 1-0) at MEIGS COUNTY TIGERS (1-2, 0-1)
Storyline: Rockwood’s offensive approach is a physical one. It lines up in a double-wing formation and runs, runs and runs some more. Then, when it’s least expected, the quarterback will roll out and pass. Meigs coach Ricky Holliday challenges his players to match the opposition’s physical play every week. That will be particularly important in this early-season District 3-A clash.
SILVERDALE BAPTIST SEAHAWKS (4-0) at HAYESVILLE (N.C.) YELLOWJACKETS (2-2)
Storyline: Silverdale coach Al Rogers is expecting to see a 4-4 defense from the Yellowjackets. Not that that’s going to change anything about the Seahawks’ philosophy of trying to rush the ball, control the clock and keep the opposing offense off the field. That approach might seem conservative, but Silverdale is averaging 42 points per game.
GILMER COUNTY BOBCATS (3-0) at DALTON CATAMOUNTS (0-2)
Storyline: If you want to see high-flying spread offenses throw it all over the field, then avoid Harmon Field tonight. This game will get physical, and for the Catamounts that means controlling 250-pound Gilmer fullback Tyler Bertolini, who gashed Southeast Whitfield for 196 yards and two scores last week. The Bobcats have allowed just 16 total points and will try to force the Catamounts to throw the ball. The probable return of tailback Kelvis Rhodes would be a big lift for a Dalton offense that has been inconsistent.
RIDGELAND PANTHERS (1-1) at CEDARTOWN BULLDOGS (3-0)
Storyline: The gimpy Panthers get a look at the Nick Chubb show and will throw everything at the future Georgia Bulldogs RB to try to control him. The best formula for doing that is to have success offensively, where Ridgeland has found the going tough. Finding a way to get RBs Noah Cooper, Cadarius Word and Calvin Davenport some running room is the key tonight for a team missing 11 players due to injury.
NORTHWEST WHITFIELD BRUINS (2-0) at CASS COLONELS (2-1)
Storyline: The Bruins have yet to play a complete game, making the 2-0 start even more impressive. They were outgained a week ago by Pickens County and face an even more athletic team tonight. One bright spot has been the play of RB Jacob Webb, who has joined Tevin McDaniel as top team playmakers. To win tonight Northwest has to control Cass’s two elite defensive linemen, Justin Reed and Montavious Parker.
DADE COUNTY WOLVERINES (2-1) at CALHOUN YELLOW JACKETS (2-1)
Storyline: A talented but young Dade team travels to face a Calhoun team coming off its first regular-season loss in five years. The Wolverines have found their ground game behind sophomore Zac Freeman, who has nearly 300 yards and five touchdowns in the past two weeks, and coach Bradley Warren says his defense is starting to come together. The Yellow Jackets have sputtered offensively, so expect to see more of sophomore QB Kaelen Riley.
GORDON CENTRAL WARRIORS (0-3) at RINGGOLD TIGERS (2-1)
Storyline: The Warriors are reeling after losing to a Murray County team that had lost 20 consecutive decisions, and to make matters worse they suffered several key injuries, including QB Shy Williams. The Tigers, who suffered a last-second loss to Central, Carroll, have used this week of practice to eliminate mistakes up front offensively. Expect Ringgold to run early and often.
LAKEVIEW-FORT OGLETHORPE WARRIORS (1-2) at ADAIRSVILLE TIGERS (2-1)
Storyline: The offensively challenged Warriors hope to rediscover their ground game against a team that is thriving on the ground. Any chance LFO has to win this Region 5-AAA opener is to stop the three-headed rushing monster of RBs Signee Johnson and Tristen Smith and QB Marcus Childers.
HERITAGE GENERALS (0-3) at PICKENS COUNTY DRAGONS (1-1)
Storyline: The Generals cannot stop hurting themselves, as evidenced by last week’s loss to Cass in which four early turnovers resulted in 24 Colonels points. To pull the upset in Jasper, Ga., Heritage has to hold onto the ball and find a way to stop elusive RB Shannon Brooks. The Dragons, though, feel Heritage’s turnover pains after committing six in last week’s loss to Northwest Whitfield.
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(All kickoffs at 7:30 EDT unless noted)
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All games kick off at 7:30 EDT unless noted