South Pittsburg

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — The pain radiating down Stephon Mitchell's left leg told him all he needed to know.

TSSAA Playoffs (7 p.m. start times) Class 1A Semifinals No. 1 SOUTH PITTSBURG PIRATES (11-1) AT No. 6 COALFIELD YELLOW JACKETS (9-3) Key players: Coalfield is led by junior two-way lineman Zach Stewart (6-5, 305), a University of Tennessee commitment, and senior two-way lineman Benson Napier (6-3, 310), who is being recruited by Middle Tennessee State University, UT-Chattanooga and VMI, among others.

Convinced he could coach at a higher level and determined to make that career jump happen as quickly as possible, Chris Jones once sat outside the football office at Tennessee Tech University for more than eight hours, just to talk his way into an interview to join the staff.

The road for South Pittsburg's fifth trip to the Class 1A state football championship game in the last seven seasons is blocked by a mountainous obstacle.

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — Corbin Fitzgerald had waited his turn all season.

Key players: South Pittsburg's run-first offense is led by a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. Senior RB Jajuan Lankford, a Mr. Football finalist in two of the last three seasons, averages nearly 12 yards per carry, while classmate Kahlil Mitchell is a hammer at both FB in the wing-T as well as on defense from his LB spot.

Slade Dale may be headed to the University of Georgia on a baseball scholarship but that doesn't mean he's quite ready to turn his back on football.

The third round of the TSSAA football playoffs will be a week of firsts for the Chattanooga area's surviving teams.

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — Midway through the fourth quarter, top-ranked South Pittsburg found itself in a position it didn't expect. Holding a 12-point lead but shut out in the second half, the Pirates needed a defensive stop to prevent upset-minded Moore County from inching closer.

Three Chattanooga-area players have been named finalists for their respective classifications' Tennessee Titans Mr. Football awards.

All Tennessee kickoffs at 7 p.m. local time

Need to add the Georgia teams once the bracket is out

Evensville is over the mountain from Dunlap, but former Sequatchie County football coach Mike Zeller is coming back close to the area where he lived and coached for three years.

Since its inception, the TSSAA football playoff six-classification format has created controversy. But it can also produce intriguing matchups, and this year there's a chance for several area rematches in the first two rounds alone.

The TSSAA announced its high school football playoff brackets Saturday morning and 20 Chattanooga-area teams qualified for the playoffs. First-round games kickoff on Friday and the postseason culminates with the BlueCross Bowl state championship games, to be played Dec. 5-7 at Tennessee Tech University.

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