Numbers to know for the Chattanooga area’s 2023 prep football season

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Hixson's Koko Kendricks uses a stiff-arm move to shed Lookout Valley's Austin Keef and score a touchdown at Finley Stadium last Friday, the second night of the BlueCross BlueShield prep football jamboree.
Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Hixson's Koko Kendricks uses a stiff-arm move to shed Lookout Valley's Austin Keef and score a touchdown at Finley Stadium last Friday, the second night of the BlueCross BlueShield prep football jamboree.

Key numbers as the 2023 prep football season kicks off in the Chattanooga area.

1,110: Total games Bradley Central has participated in since the school began playing football in 1916.

735: All-time wins by South Pittsburg as the program kicks off its 100th season. Through 99 seasons, the Pirates are 735-254-39 overall, having won 71% of their games.

99: Matchups between Bradley Central and McMinn County when the two rivals meet Friday to open the season. The series began in 1927 and is the second-oldest rivalry in Tennessee, behind only Harriman versus Rockwood, which began in 1924. Bradley's Bears, who have won seven of the past nine meetings, including two straight, lead the all-time series 55-41-3.

85: Percent of last year's offensive production for Silverdale Baptist Academy lost to graduation. The players the Seahawks must replace include two-time all-state quarterback Brett Rogers, who accounted for nearly 3,000 offensive yards and 30 touchdowns.

72: Minimum miles (one way) Marion County must travel for road games in league play as the only member of TSSAA Region 4-2A from the Chattanooga area. The Warriors will travel to Cannon County and Forrest for region matchups this season and have trips to league foes Cascade and Fayetteville next year.

24: Consecutive years a Chattanooga-area team has played for a state championship in either Tennessee or Georgia. Only twice in the past 32 seasons has an area team not reached a title game.

23: Consecutive playoff berths for Calhoun, the most of any Georgia program in the Times Free Press coverage area.

21: Total 100-yard rushing games Rhea County senior Ethan Davis has in his career, which includes seven with 200-plus yards and one with 359. His 4,831 yards of total offense are a program record, and he has averaged nearly 160 rushing yards per game for his career.

18: Players with starting experience who graduated from Tyner's Class 2A state championship team. Seven of those earned all-state recognition, including quarterback Josh Jackson, a Tennessee Titans Mr. Football award winner.

15.8: Average points allowed by East Ridge over its final six games last season. The Pioneers return a fast and physical defensive front that will be tested in the first half of the season by a schedule that includes trips to Marion County, Red Bank and East Hamilton plus home games against Sequatchie County and Loudon — all of which featured high-scoring offenses last year.

15: Consecutive wins over Division II-AA league foes by Lipscomb Academy — with an average margin of 42 points, including 42-0 over Christ Presbyterian Academy in the BlueCross Bowl state final — before the Mustangs elected to move up in classification. The Nashville program won the past two state titles in DII-AA but now joins Baylor, Brentwood Academy, Knoxville Catholic, Montgomery Bell Academy and McCallie in DII-AAA East, the state's toughest region regardless of classification.

10: Opponents that McMinn County held to 14 points or less last season. The Cherokees allowed more than 20 points only once.

9: Wins by the five teams in DII-AAA West in 51 matchups against the six teams that make up DII-AAA East since 2019.

8: Combined margin of McCallie's three losses last season. The Blue Tornado lost by three to MBA in the regular season, by four at Baylor and by one at MBA in the state semifinals after a failed 2-point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter.

8: Consecutive Class 3A state championships won by Alcoa. The Tornadoes, who are 112-8 in that span with six of those losses to perennial 6A power Maryville, have also won nine of the last 10 state titles in their class.

7: Hours required for the Baylor football team's transatlantic flight to Dublin, Ireland, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, to play Seton Hall (New Jersey) that Friday at 9:30 p.m. Eastern. The Red Raiders will remain in Ireland on Saturday to attend the college game between Navy and Notre Dame before a 10-hour flight home. Baylor opens the season with three games against teams from different states and will face competition from five states in all: Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and Virginia.

7: Head coaches Cleveland has had since the legendary Benny Monroe, who guided the program to three consecutive state titles from 1993-95, resigned after the 1996 season. Since that year, Cleveland has just one season with double-digit wins, going 10-4 and reaching the state semifinals in 2013. The Blue Raiders have had 17 seasons of seven or fewer wins.

6: Consecutive years in which Red Bank has reached at least the quarterfinals of the playoffs, with three trips to the semifinals — including last season, when a stingy defense led the way by holding 12 opponents to two or fewer scores.

5: Area players ranked among the state's top 10 prospects for the class of 2024 by On3.com. The list includes Bradley Central's Boo Carter (No. 2 overall) and Marcus Goree Jr. (No. 9), as well as Baylor's Amari Jefferson (No. 3) and Max LeBlanc (No. 6) and McCallie's Marcellus Barnes (No. 10). Besides that group, South Pittsburg's Martavious Collins is ranked No. 6 in the state by 247Sports.com.

5: Most wins in a single season in Sale Creek's 10-year history of varsity football, which came in 2021 (5-6). The Panthers have also never hosted a playoff game or advanced past the first round, despite reaching the postseason the past five years. All of that could change as veteran head coach Jason Fitzgerald, who has 171 career wins and a history of turning programs around, takes over. Having 14 starters back and four of their five nonregion foes going a combined 6-29 last season should also help their chances of setting a new standard for wins.

4: Signal Mountain losses last season by five or fewer points, including three by just three points. Had the Eagles found a way to turn those narrow losses into wins, it could have meant at least a seven-win season. They also had a seven-point loss.

4: Consecutive DII-AAA titles won by Chattanooga schools. Baylor won its first state championship in 49 years last season, which followed three straight crowns won by rival McCallie. Prior to that, McCallie in 2011 was the last title team from Chattanooga in the state's largest private school classification.

3: Consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons by Hixson senior running back KoKo Kendricks. A successful ground game and a defense that limited five opponents to 15 points or less last season helped the Wildcats return to the playoffs after a five-year absence. Three of Hixson's wins were by three points and another was by seven.

3: Consecutive seasons with at least eight wins by East Hamilton, which moves up to Class 5A.

2: Number of returning running backs for Bradley Central who have rushed for more than 1,100 yards in a season. Senior Jackson Wilson gained more than 1,800 in 2021, and junior J'Alan Terry ran for nearly 1,200 last year. They're part of a loaded Bears team that will also look to extend its playoff streak to 14 straight seasons.

0: Seniors on Chattanooga Prep's roster. The Sentinels, who are entering their third season of varsity competition, will play a Region 3-1A schedule for the first time with a young team that does include 20 juniors.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com.

  photo  Staff file photo by Matt Hamilton / McCallie football coach Ralph Potter led the Blue Tornado to three straight state titles from 2019 to 2021, but a narrow semifinal loss last year kept the program from returning to the BlueCross Bowl.
 
 

AREA PREP FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

WEEK 1

Games begin at 7:30 unless noted

Thursday, Aug. 17

GEORGIA

Pepperell at Northwest Whitfield, 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 18

FOOTBALL

TENNESSEE

Bledsoe County at Sequatchie County, 8 p.m.

Bradley Central at McMinn County

Central at Ooltewah

Chattanooga Prep at Boyd Buchanan

Cleveland at Clinton

East Hamilton at Hixson

East Ridge at Marion County

Lookout Valley at Grace Academy

McCallie at Chattanooga Christian

McMinn Central at Signal Mountain

Notre Dame at Walker Valley

Oliver Springs at South Pittsburg, 8 p.m.

Polk County at Copper Basin

Rabun Gap (Ga.) at Baylor

Sale Creek at Midway

Soddy-Daisy at Rhea County

Tyner at Red Bank

White County at Silverdale Baptist

Whitwell at Huntland, 8 p.m.

GEORGIA

Armuchee at Gordon Central

Calhoun at Blessed Trinity

Chattooga at LaFayette

Christian Heritage at North Cobb Christian

Coahulla Creek at Murray County

Coosa at Southeast Whitfield

Dade County at Athens Academy

Dalton at North Murray

Gordon Lee at Trion

Lakeview-F.O. at Gilmer

Ringgold at Heritage

Sonoraville at Pickens

Saturday, Aug. 19

TENNESSEE

Brainerd at Howard, 5 p.m.