In some circles it's a foregone conclusion that the three top teams in Georgia Region 7B-AAAA are all but decided with still two games to go before the crossover week 10.
Not so fast, say the Southeast Whitfield Raiders, who could, with wins tonight against Northwest Whitfield and next week against Dalton, climb to the No. 2 spot behind Ridgeland. The Raiders, 2-1 in subregion play, can lock out Northwest's Bruins (1-2) with a win tonight and guarantee themselves no worse than the No. 3 seed and a shot at a state playoff berth.
"We're very excited to be in the position we're in," Southeast first-year coach Sean Gray said. "Three weeks ago we were dead in the water, and now we control our own destiny. There's a lot of buzz in the community and school this week. It's always great to play a rival, but now there's a lot on the line, too."
The Catamounts (2-1) can lock up their top-three spot with a win tonight against winless Heritage ar at Southeast next week.
Kalina Hyde didn't want any special treatment when she decided to try out for the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe football team, and coach Todd Windham made sure she got her wish. The senior soccer player's hard work was rewarded in last week's win over Coahulla Creek when she kicked two extra points.
"We've talked about it all year, wanting to find a time to get her in there, and that was her time and she did really well," Windham said. "I tell you, she's gotten better all year and I would feel comfortable if she had to come in and kick one. When she came out [for football], she didn't want to be treated any differently, and we've done that and it's worked out great."
Ooltewah coach Shannon Williams missed a practice for the first time in his career last week, and despite having pneumonia he probably would've shown up if the Owls had not been in an open date week.
"I knew I was contagious, but in the locker room [at Rhea County] it sounded like a ward for tuberculosis patients, all the coughing that was going on," he said. "I'm hoping the week off did us some good."
Williams, who was still coughing hard earlier this week, has been through three rounds of antibiotics, has gotten a steroid shot and even has a nebulizer for breathing treatments.
Surgery has been scheduled for Tuesday for Red Bank center Tyler Phillips to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and meniscus in his knee. It had been reported that he was sitting out a game, and it was because of the injury rather than any disciplinary reason.
Phillips, whose college athletic career probably will be in baseball, has a long post-op road to get back. The senior catcher has several small school offers and also will eventually work out for NAIA power Lee University, which is making the transition to NCAA Division II.
When South Pittsburg rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat Polk County 21-14 last week, it snapped a seven-game losing streak in games decided by a touchdown or less.
Beginning with a 13-6 loss at Trousdale County in the 2008 quarterfinals, the Pirates had lost all seven games decided by a touchdown or less, including three times in 2009 (Boyd-Buchanan, Polk County, Union City), and once each year since before last Friday.
Since 2008 the Pirates have gone 53-11 with 34 wins by the state's 35-point mercy rule and seven of the losses by a touchdown or less.
Signal Mountain quarterback Reese Phillips was extended an invitation to visit Alabama when the Crimson Tide host Mississippi State on Saturday but has decided not to go.
"Penn State called last week, too, but Reese is pretty set on Kentucky," Signal coach Bill Price said. "There's been a lot of conversation about who's going to be the next [coach at Kentucky] and I think he's pretty satisfied. He was really comfortable with the folks up there."
Price threw out two names he had heard as possible successors to embattled UK coach Joker Phillips: Sonny Dykes, son of legendary Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes and currently the coach at Louisiana Tech, or Mark Helfrich, currently the offensive coordinator at Oregon. The connection there is likely Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens, who served Kentucky as deputy director of athletics during his time in Lexington.