Greater Chattanooga Area Prep Football Playoffs
All games at 7 p.m. local time
Clay County (4-6) at South Pittsburg (5-5)
Copper Basin (6-4) receives bye; will host South Pittsburg/Clay County winner
Rockwood (7-3) at Boyd-Buchanan (5-5)
Meigs County (6-4) at Knoxville Grace (7-3)
Marion County receives bye; will host Jackson County (6-4)/Eagleville (6-4) winner
Whitwell (6-4) at Trousdale County (7-3)
Chattanooga Christian (4-6) at Notre Dame (9-1)
Bledsoe County (5-5) at Red Bank (6-4)
Grundy County (5-5) at McMinn Central (8-2)
DeKalb County (5-5) at Signal Mountain (8-2)
Page (6-4) at Hixson (8-2)
Central (6-4) at Livingston Academy (9-1)
Soddy-Daisy (4-6) at Oak Ridge (10-0)
Clinton (7-3) at Cleveland (5-5)
Stone Memorial (6-4) at Ooltewah (10-0)
Tullahoma (5-5) at Rhea County (10-0)
Walker Valley (5-5) at Maryville (10-0)
Bradley Central (5-5) at Science Hill (9-1)
Pope John Paul II (3-7) at McCallie (8-2)
Father Ryan (5-5) at Baylor (6-4)
South Lamar (4-6) at Valley Head (5-4)
Tanner (8-2) at Ider (7-3), 8
North Jackson (7-3) at Saks (9-1), 8
Gardendale (6-4) at Fort Payne (7-3), 8
Scottsboro (4-6) at Chalkville Clay (10-0), 8
When Rob Spence left Pikeville on Friday evening, he did so thinking his football team was through for 2014, so the Chattanooga Christian coach got quite a surprise Saturday morning when he received a call saying the Chargers were in the state playoffs.
It is a first for the Chargers, who have yet to record a .500 record in their six seasons of varsity competition.
"It's been an up-and-down season," Spence said. "A couple of the games we lost we were winning with like four to six minutes to play and we lost the lead. This team is a lot better than its record."
It's a similar story for Soddy-Daisy, which is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Trojans left Walker Valley thinking their season was complete after finishing the regular season 4-6 with five of those defeats coming in District 5-AAA, including Friday's 34-27 loss to the Mustangs.
"After last night I didn't think I had to worry about anything," Soddy-Daisy coach Justin Barnes said Saturday evening. "Plans changed pretty quick from taking up equipment on Monday to getting a free game."
The Chargers and Trojans are two of 22 Chattanooga-area teams to be included in the Tennessee playoffs, which start Friday. The list includes Copper Basin and South Pittsburg in Class 1A; Boyd-Buchanan, Marion County, Meigs County and Whitwell in 2A; Bledsoe County, CCS, Grundy County, McMinn Central, Notre Dame and Red Bank in 3A; Central, Hixson and Signal Mountain in 4A; Cleveland, Ooltewah, Rhea County and Soddy-Daisy in 5A; Bradley Central and Walker Valley in 6A; and Baylor and McCallie in Division II-AA.
Ooltewah and Rhea County are the only area teams entering the playoffs as unbeatens, although Notre Dame has a nine-game win streak. Soddy-Daisy travels to 10-0 Oak Ridge on Friday, and Walker Valley visits 10-0 Maryville.
Ooltewah is the No. 3 seed in its Class 5A quadrant, slotted behind fellow unbeatens Oak Ridge and Rhea County. If Ooltewah and Rhea win their openers, they would meet the following week.
Two of the area playoff teams have first-round byes -- Copper Basin in Class 1A and Marion County in 2A.
Games in all of the eight classifications are to begin at 7 p.m. local time.
That Saturday morning telephone call interrupted Spence's "what-if" contemplation and the recording of his thoughts in a journal. He quickly sent out a blanket email to team members and met with them Saturday afternoon.
"There's no question (being in the playoffs) has generated excitement," the coach said. "We're thrilled that the state thought highly enough of us to include us in the 32 (Class 3A) playoff teams."
The Chargers will be on the road but only going across town to face Notre Dame, which beat CCS 42-7 in Week 3.
"I have a lot of respect for Notre Dame and the way they've developed their program, and they've gotten even better. They're a tremendous opponent," Spence said.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.