Ooltewah has tough back-to-back matchups
If he had a hand in the schedule his players face, Ooltewah football coach Mac Bryan probably wouldn't have scheduled a highly regarded Dobyns-Bennett team tonight, a week after his Owls claimed an emotional 28-26 victory over rival East Hamilton -- especially for homecoming.
"It's going to be a tough back-to-back," Bryan said.
The positive is that it's prevented a loss of focus in the team's practice, as the Indians' two losses have been to ranked teams -- to Class 6A fifth-ranked Sevier County and to East Hamilton, which peaked at No. 2 in Class 5A before falling to sixth this week.
"In our district, you're going to have to play hard every week. They all present challenges," Bryan said. "I didn't set the schedule, but we might as well keep on going."
Gaglianone just short
Baylor kicker Rafael Gaglianone thought he was through for the night after halftime last Friday, but the opportunity arose and Red Raiders coach Phil Massey called on the senior to attempt a 62-yard field goal.
"He had the distance and at first I thought he had made it, but he was to the left [of the upright]," Massey said.
The state record is 62 yards, set in 1991 and tied in 1992 by Franklin County's Jeff Hall, who went on to have an outstanding college career at Tennessee. The national mark is 67 yards.
Massey had it in the back of his mind to give his kicker a shot at the record if the situation presented itself. It did. The Red Raiders were facing a fourth-and-long and the field goal try was as good as a punt into the end zone.
Gaglianone is one of the nation's highest ranked prep kickers but has just one scholarship offer (North Carolina State) thus far.
"Tennessee is done with [recruiting] kickers this year. Ohio State and Texas A&M made offers to other kids, and LSU has two kickers already on scholarship," Massey said. "There just aren't that many kicking scholarships out there, and the FCS schools aren't making offers because they figure he's going [FBS]."
Defensive line subs
Like all coaches, Bradley Central's Damon Floyd would love always to be at full strength on Friday nights, but injuries happen. Unfortunately, some of the Bears' injuries entering tonight's game against Class 4A fifth-ranked Signal Mountain are at the worst spot possible -- the defensive line.
The Eagles are 4-1 and averaging 398.6 yards rushing per contest. Bradley's defensive line, which already has been missing players, suffered another loss when senior Logan McAmis went down with an injury in the Bears' 38-14 win over Walker Valley. McAmis was inserted into the lineup due to injuries suffered by Dakota Burgess and Josh Phelps. Another player, who had started for three seasons on the line, quit at the beginning of the season.
Will Robbins, who has starting experience, and D.J. Adams will start against the Eagles. Last week was Adams' first start.
"The key for us is to make sure we get lined up correctly and read our keys to be in the right spot. Then we have to tackle them once we get to the ball," Floyd said. "We're usually pretty deep at the tackle spot, so I have confidence that Will and D.J. will be fine for us."
Won't be the first
When Ken Colquette takes Sequatchie County to Marion County tonight, it won't be the first homecoming for the coach who took Marion to such lofty heights in the 1990s, with two state championships.
Colquette had two Grundy County teams that visited Marion during his four years at the Coalmont school. Marion won three of the four meetings.
As for this game tonight, it's likely that Colquette will have at least six freshmen starting, which is close to the number of seniors he has on a squad dominated by juniors and sophomores.
"The defense is new, the offense is new and some of the coaches are new," he said. "I don't think any of us are comfortable yet, but we're starting to feel it instead of think it."
McCallie's Jeffrey Coleman is either really good at following his blocks or shifty enough to avoid grasping defenders.
He has 15 kickoff returns for 539 yards (35.9 average) and has three kickoff returns for touchdowns, two coming last week (95 and 93 yards) against Kentucky state champion Bowling Green.
More than a fullback
Zach Miller, one of the area's rushing leaders with 664 yards, is more than just a big bruising fullback. He also is Polk County's middle linebacker, and he goes to noseguard when the Wildcats switch into their five-man defensive line.
Miller also is the team's backup punter.